Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 23, 2009


Sam Dillon, NY Times - Two years ago, an effort to fix No Child Left Behind, the main federal law on public schools, provoked a grueling slugfest in Congress, leading Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, to say the law had become "the most negative brand in America." Education Secretary Arne Duncan agrees. "Let's rebrand it," he said in an interview. "Give it a new name."

And before Mr. Duncan has had time to float a single name, scores of educators, policy wonks and assorted rabble-rousers have rushed in with an outpouring of proposals. . .

Alternatives are popping up every day on the Eduwonk.com blog, where Andrew Rotherham, a former Clinton administration official, is sponsoring a rename-the-law contest.

One entry: . . . the Act to Help Children Read Gooder.

Part of the problem is that the law, which comes up for reauthorization every five years, became closely associated with President George W. Bush, and as his popularity slid, the law, and its name, came under attack and ridicule.

Jay Leno, for instance, pointed out in 2006 that Mr. Bush's approval rating had dropped to 35 percent. "You know Bush's No Child Left Behind program?" Mr. Leno said. "Now even the children left behind are going, 'You go ahead, we're fine.' "

Nicknames for the law [have] proliferated: No Child Left Untested, No Child's Behind Left, No School Board Left Standing.

Eduwonk has received 41 entries, including: the Double Back Around to Pick Up the Children We Left Behind Act, the Rearranging the Deck Chairs Act, the Teach to the Test Act and the Could We Start Again Please Act.


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