12 Widener L. Rev. 637 (2005-2006)
No Child Left Behind: Admirable Goals, Disastrous Outcomes

handle is hein.journals/wlsj12 and id is 647 raw text is: NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: ADMIRABLE GOALS,
DISASTROUS OUTCOMES
THOMAS RENTSCHLER*
I. INTRODUCTION
As President Bush signed into law the re-authorization of the Elementary
and Secondary Education Act on January 8, 2002,1 he cast a new challenge to
state governments and public education.           The challenge was concisely
explained by the re-authorized law's new title-No Child Left Behind
(NCLB).2 The 669 pages of NCLB federal legislation heightened the federal
government     and   public   expectations   of   student   and   public   school
performance. The law demanded an increase in the quality of education in
America's public schools as determined by yearly assessments of student
progress.
Renaming the re-authorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act to
the now familiar No Child Left Behind moniker was an act of political genius.
No one could argue that it is acceptable to leave some children behind3 while
their peers find current academic and future social success. In a shrewd
political move, the President could claim the mantle of the Education
President, while he and other NCLB proponents could paint those who
questioned the law's methods and procedures as obstructionists, indifferent to
the plight of children, or those afraid of accountability.4 Outgoing Secretary of
Education, Rod Paige, referred to the National Education Association
(NEA) (the largest teacher union) as terrorists'5 due to the organization's
opposition to NCLB's punitive nature and NEA complaints concerning the
* Thomas Rentschler is a thirteen-year veteran of public schools currently teaching at
Schuylkill Valley High School in Reading, Pennsylvania. He is a May 2005 magna cur laude
graduate of the Widener University School of Law where he was a staff member on The Widener
Law Retiew. He would like to express his admiration for the work done by public school
teachers and students in America. He would like to dedicate this article to his wife, Aimee, and
sons, Luke, Marc, and Jack for their support, patience, and sacrifice for the three and a half
years that I was attending law school..
1. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. §§ 6301 - 7941 (2005).
2. Id.
3. Some critics of President Bush's policy regarding elementary and secondary
education have an alternative. It is: Let's leave lots of children behind. George F. Will, A
Genuine Eduation President,' WASH. POST, Mar. 11, 2004, at A27. In response to the argument
that requiring 100% of students to reach certain goals is excessive, Representative John Boehner
(R-Ohio) replies, What number would you substitute? Ninety-five? That means you can
throw five percent of the children overboard. Id. Statements such as these oversimplify the
massive challenge and statistical improbability of having 100% of any student population being
rated proficient on the basis of a one-shot standardized examination.
4. Jack Jennings & Nancy Kober, Talk Tough, But... Put the Mony Where Your Mouth
Is, WASH. POST, Oct. 3, 2004, at B03; William Raspberry, No Child's Failure, WASH. POST, May 3,
2004, at A21.
5. John King, Paige Ca&r NEA 'Terorist Organization' (2004), http://www.cnn.com/
2004/EDUCATION/02/23/paige.terrorist.nea.

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