Before we decide to shovel untold billions more their way, let?s give No Child Left Behind a chance to work. After all, the law requires states to test students annually and report on their progress. The long-term goal is for every student to be fully proficient in reading and math within 12 years.
But it?s up to the states, not the federal government, to set the standards. And many states didn?t even get a plan in place until last year.
Meanwhile, states and school districts are busy setting up accountability programs, trying to find ways to ensure teacher quality and designing public school-choice programs. As Heritage Foundation education analyst Krista Kafer noted recently, it?s going to take a few years before we?ll really know if the law is working.
It?s probably unfair to judge a federal program on spending alone -- we also should consider whether or not it?s delivering ?bang for the buck.? But it is safe to say, when states are returning hundreds of millions of dollars, that education isn?t underfunded. And our children have little hope of winning the education lottery until we stop pretending that it is.