There are many who would insist on an alternative ed reform plan before calling for an end to NCLB. Although I don't think a rehab plan for a mass murderer should be required before we put an end to the killing, there are already some good places to begin a serious discussion as to the purpose and shape of education in America moving forward. One such effort is available from a joint task force report by the Center for American Progress and the Institute for America's Future, Getting Smarter, Becoming Fairer . . .
Although the report suffers from the overreaching and overpromising that have characterized education reform since Horace Mann, this document represents a huge step forward from the "take names, kick ass" approach of NCLB's back-to-basics-redux crew whose success would lead ultimately to the stupidification of the American people. One thing that this new plan does is to call attention to the direct correlation of family income to children's test scores. Another is to call for real accountability that goes beyond those same test scores that measure less learning than they do our capacity to maintain the social inequities that have haunted our democratic aspirations ever since the Founders turned a blind eye to slavery.
Let the discussion begin, then, on intelligent alternatives as we move forward to repeal the corrupt and cynical efforts of the neo-cons to corporatize American education and to further reproduce current social/economic inequities, thus further weakening the civic awareness and civic responisibility that are required by free people.