Obama rewrites No Child Left Behind

Updated
President Obama discussing the No Child Left Behind education policy at the White House on Friday.
President Obama discussing the No Child Left Behind education policy at the White House on Friday.
Jason Reed/Reuters

Big changes are coming to No Child Left Behind law, an education relic of the Bush administration. During a speech at the White House today, President Obama announced his plan to change the way public schools are evaluated.

Instead of adhering to students passing a state-required test, he’s giving states the option to make up their own program to improve performances in the classroom, via a waiver. It also drops the requirement that kids must prove proficiency in reading and math by 2014 — under the condition states have a plan B to better prepare students.

Obama pointed out Bush had nothing but good intentions with this program, but, well, it’s just not working with the current set-up. Now, Obama’s putting power in the states’ hands to decide the best course of action for struggling students. This move makes states eligible for more flexibility in how they spend federal funds previously allotted for tutoring programs.

“Higher standards are the right goal. Accountability is the right goal,” Obama told a room full of educators and students at the White House. “But experience has taught us that in its implementation, No Child Left Behind had some serious flaws that are hurting our children instead of helping them.”

Critics of the program say the law placed too much emphasis on standardized tests and schools focused too much on teaching to the test. As in, kids weren’t actually learning more. It was more about scraping by to avoiding getting penalized.

His team has been working with Congress for a few months to find a solution these problems. That went nowhere fast, so Obama’s going it alone.

“Congress has not been able to fix these flaws so far,” Obama said, “so I will.”

George W. Bush, Barack Obama and The Last Word Education Nation

Obama rewrites No Child Left Behind

Updated