Date: September 8, 2004
Subject: "Ripping the guts" out of NCLB

One of the things I appreciate about Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-Minnesota 3rd District) is his unabashed hatred of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In 2001, Ramstad joined in the Minnesota delegation's bipartisan (10-1) opposition to NCLB, which was strongly promoted by the newly-installed George W. Bush administration (which raised back-room arm-twisting to bone-breaking levels, according to Ramstad's graphic description). Since then, Ramstad has expressed his feelings about NCLB to me several times. I always wondered whether he was just telling me what I wanted to hear, but this week I read this in my local Sun Newspaper:

Ramstad, however, parts company with Bush on the No Child Left Behind Act, which he termed a grossly inappropriate intrusion by the federal government on local affairs.

"I call it the 'no un-funded mandate left behind' act," Ramstad said. "It's a costly intrusion that will do nothing to improve education."

Ramstad has co-sponsored a bill that would eliminate the sanctions against local schools who fail to meet federal standards. He said the measure would effectively "rip the guts" out of NCLB.
Accountability in education is a good thing, but the federal government is simply the wrong vehicle for its delivery. As Jefferson and Ronald Reagan would agree, schools should be accountable to the parents and taxpayers in each town, not to a bureaucracy Washington, D.C.