I was right:
I've always been a little bit perplexed by the reaction of many to No Child Left Behind, for example, because I've yet to meet a teacher who's for it and yet the teachers unions say, "Oh yeah, it's broken, we all hate it, but let's double the funding for it so we can fix it." On the other side of the coin you have the Republicans who think it's one of their biggest achievements to have passed it. [Yet], to me, it has a basic contradiction with the Republican philosophy of local control of schools. You know, we doubled the size of the Department of Education during Republican control, doubled the amount of employees there. I just think it's a wrong way to go. [It's] this top-down approach [and it] takes a bludgeon to determine how to teach kids. It tells schools that they aren't succeeding because their overall scores are low when maybe every one of their kids is actually improving.
I've talked with superintendents in my state, principals,...[and] school boards and they all have particular fixes. And I told them that, first of all, I will try to get No Child Left Behind repealed in its totality. I won't always get everything I want up here, I realize that, but I still will try. And I will probably support most of the things that they are asking for as long as they're not asking for more money to be spent. [I'm skeptical of some of the proposals] like judging the schools based on the progress of each individual student. Statistically, if you have 20 kids in a class that's not a good sample size. If you have 200 kids in a school, that's still not a good sample size. Four National Merit Scholars could skew a sample like that. And that's the kind of thinking that we have in Washington, where they put schools on probation, where [when measuring performance] they make them include certain kids who have learning disabilities. All of that skews results and really doesn't get to the truth of whether it's a good school or not. There are schools that have waiting lists to get into because they are so popular and are universally acclaimed by the community and yet they sometimes score low.
As far as exactly what is taught, I think that there could even be good ideas that come out of federal government on occasion, surprising as that might be, but I think that those decisions should still be made locally. I think a good example of how best to teach is so different from community to community. If you remember [Jaime Escalante] in East L.A., he [had great success] teaching mathematics, but his techniques were probably different than if your kids go to Beverly Hills. We have different problems in Louisville that we might not have in northern Kentucky. And one size fits all is not the way to do it...Communities differ throughout Kentucky but definitely kids in Bowling Green are different from kids in Brooklyn or Queens.
RH: So you think it makes sense to have different academic standards across the states?
RP: Yeah, and that variability should be no federal standards and all state standards. I don't think there's any reason to have it in Washington. The problem with this debate is that certain people on the other side of the debate characterize it as, if you are opposed to the Department of Education, then you are opposed to education.
This may surprise my liberal readers out there, but I'm glad Paul beat the Dem in Kentucky.
The Dem was another neo-liberal, pro-NCLB ed reformer in the Michael Bennet mold.
We have enough of those in power already in both parties.
I may not like a lot of other stands Rand Paul takes on things, especially on union issues, but if it's between some federal funding and lots of federal mandates written by Gates and Broad Foundation people and little federal funding and few mandates, I'll take the latter.
After ten years of NCLB and two years of RttT (with worse to come if Obama's NCLB Jr. is passed and signed into law), give me a Rand Paul education policy over the policies of Michael Bennet, George Miller, or Lamar Alexander.
Scary that I just wrote that, but it's true.
That's how bad things have gotten.