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May 24, 2004, Extra Credit
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May 24, 2004

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May 21
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Keeping the Promise of True Equal Opportunity

The following are excerpts from an op-ed by Sen. Jon Kyl, which recently ran in the Eloy Enterprise (Ariz.), highlighting No Child Left Behind's significance in ensuring the equal educational opportunity promised by the Brown v. Board of Education decision:

"Fifty years after [the Brown v. Board of Education] decision, there is concern across the political spectrum that the noble ends toward which it aimed have yet to be realized."

"...even though the federal government has directed $187 billion to Title I since it was created, Secretary of Education Rod Paige has concluded that 'we have virtually nothing to show for it' in terms of reduced disparities among students of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. After 50 years, I hope we can all agree that money without reform will not address the disparities that persist - and that we need to ask more of our education system."

"The law's signature innovation is its insistence that schools demonstrate academic progress for all students. Yet the Department of Education has been inundated with requests to loosen those requirements. To their credit, President Bush and Secretary Paige have made it clear that the practice of concealing persistent failure to educate minority youngsters - and what they have aptly described as the 'soft bigotry of low expectations' can no longer be countenanced."

"There is much wisdom in the President's formulation that 'Education is the new civil right.' Fifty years later, the challenge of vindicating that right is the test of whether America can keep the promise of true equal opportunity Brown vs. Board of Education galvanized Americans of goodwill to make in its wake."

The complete text of this op-ed is available online.

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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 07/08/2004