The following are excerpts from a recent op-ed by U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle, chairman of the House Budget Committee, in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Iowa):
"Last week we marked the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision that said clearly the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine of education was unconstitutional. The court set out to guarantee every American student a seat in the classroom regardless of race."
"Two years ago, the landmark, bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act built on this promise by declaring that each student deserves more than a seat in the classroom: Each one also deserves a quality education."
"Providing money is not the only way this nation can show education is a priority. Sometimes the time is right and America makes a major change based on principle to move our schools forward."
"Considerable progress has been made in America's schools since the Brown decision, but gaps remain when it comes to ensuring all children actually learn. Significant academic achievement gaps still exist between disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers in key subjects such as reading and math."
"The No Child Left Behind Act says America will no longer accept achievement gaps as par for the course. The law is grounded in the belief that all students --- regardless of race, background, income, geography or disability --- can learn, and must be given the chance to do so."
"With a focus on accountability, No Child Left Behind simply says ‘don't just take the dollars; show us progress, and show us results.’ "
"Too many people have fallen for the myths that No Child Left Behind is an unfunded mandate or ‘punishes’ schools that need assistance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Under the law, when students and schools are identified as needing help, they get it. They aren't labeled as ‘failing.’ Struggling schools qualify for emergency aid and technical support."
"Major shifts are never easy. That was true when ‘separate but equal’ was rejected by the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and it is true of No Child Left Behind. It doesn't have to be easy to be right."
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