Very Little to Celebrate in the new "No Child Left Behind" Law

In the education world there has been a lot of worry and hype about the passage of the new No Child Left Behind Law - The Every Child Achieves Act. Frankly, the wording our politicians use is foreshadowing enough for us to know that the game plan won't be good for American kids. This bi-partisan name game is an insult to American citizens. If politicians write a title that sounds unrealistic to attain, it will be. If you search for bills with misleading names you will get some great results or just check out this article, and this article, and this one.

Now back to The Every Child Achieves Law. There are several reliable articles on it here, here, and here. But when I want to see what the opposition thinks, I pay close attention their perfectly polished spin doctoring. I read in this Education Reform Now post all I apparently need to know about the new law. They even produced a beautiful infographic (below). Note what makes them the most saitisfied with this new law - they made it the first point. Testing remains unchanged. Yay for the testing companies. Too bad for our kids.

 The HUGE change is the elimination of much federal overreach, which is great if your state has a Governor who supports pubic education. If not... I can't even write it.

As reported here, the original 1965 law that NCLB and ESEA replaced stated, 

"FEDERAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION PROHIBITED SEC. 604. Nothing contained in this Act shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system."

So ESEA returned much (but not all) of the power back to the states, and it sure will make Wall Street happy with its Pay for Success plan, which is woven into this law. Pay for Success allows for private investment in underfunded public services.

"There’s no free lunch. Yet across the country, advocates of Pay for Success (PFS), or Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), serve up this alternative private financing model as a cost-free, risk-free silver bullet to support critical, yet underfunded, public services. As local and state governments rush to pass enabling legislation and strike deals with investors, a closer examination of these schemes is warranted." 

What is Pay for Success?

"PFS (Pay for Success) brings venture capital to the provision of public services. Investors, such as Goldman Sachs or Bank of America, provide up-front funds for critical preventive services with the expectation of receiving a return on their investment. The theory is that the private investment dollars can fill a funding gap when government doesn’t have adequate financial resources to spend on prevention activities.
Under a PFS arrangement, the government repays the loan with interest if pre-determined social outcome targets are met. The theory presumes that even after paying the investors and service providers, the state ultimately reaps financial savings through foregone budget dollars spent to address future more costly, but now avoided, social problems. But PFS looks better on paper than in reality. A closer look at how they operate raises issues that warrant careful consideration for decision-makers looking to undertake a PFS."

Our government is basically inviting Shark Tank into our schools.

“Ultimately, Pay for Success ignores the deeper cause of many of our growing social problems: underinvestment in the public interest. America desperately needs more investment in all our public services. Prevention-focused public funding of critical public services—like pre-K for all children and help for juveniles who end up in the criminal justice system—is our simplest and least expensive solution.”

As always, Caveat Emptor. There is very little to celebrate in this new law.


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