[Washington Post] The politics of No Child Left Behind have always been difficult to navigate. In the strange-bedfellows world of education reform, Bush finds himself fending off foes from the left and right. Teachers' unions stand alongside hard-line conservatives against the program, while civil rights groups team up with business organizations in support of it.
The threat to the education accountability program comes as test scores hint at progress, with the gap between white children and minorities narrowing. "There's no reason to turn back the clock," Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in an interview. "We're on the move. This is working."
If it is not reauthorized, the law will remain on the books unchanged, although even supporters, including Bush, think it needs to be updated to fix problems and establish "deeper roots," as Spellings put it. Moreover, inaction would represent another punishing defeat for Bush after the death of his plans to overhaul Social Security, immigration law and the tax code. . . . [read on]