NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Improving Public Schools

July 22, 2003

A two-year-old federal law, the No Child Left Behind Act, kicks in seriously this fall. But this month, National Education Association President Reg Weaver vowed to sue the federal government for setting mandates for student progress without funding them. The unions fear the law guarantees schools will fail by requiring too much, too fast; however, the editorial writers at USA Today argue that the unions are fueling the country's education crisis by not helping the reforms to succeed.

While the goal of ensuring that all children learn at "proficient" levels by 2014 will require more federal aid, Washington has shown it is prepared to provide it, notes USA Today.

  • Since passing the school reform law in 2001, Congress has boosted spending on poor students.
  • New York City schools, for example, receive an extra $1,807 in federal dollars for every poor student -- an increase of 53 percent during the past two years.
  • What's more, many schools are implementing the reforms without massive infusions of money.
  • Congress addressed this concern, however, by increasing teacher-training grants in the past two years from $2.1 billion to $2.9 billion.
  • And the drive for high-quality teachers is something the unions have long favored.

The school reforms were passed to ensure that learning gap is closed. By embracing them instead of fighting them, the teachers unions can help all public students get the high-quality education they deserve, says USA TODAY.

Source: Editorial, "Teachers unions move too quickly to dismiss reforms," USA Today, July 22, 2003.

For text


Browse more articles on Education Issues