Repeal NCLB. This is universally hated by everyone connected with education, has buried them in even more paperwork/bureaucracy, and cost the states tons and TONS of money. Plus, it ain't working - or, if it is, I sure haven't read any "real" success stories about it.
Paraphrasing Howard Dean (in talking about the Patients' Bill of Rights) "Has one child gotten a better education because of NCLB?
The Republicans have proven they cannot control government growth and this is one clear issue we can take away from them, if we can get past the "it sounds like it should be something we support."
Schools are DYING out there and states are bankrupting themselves trying to accommodate the volumes (and I do mean VOLUMES) of regulations that come with it. If the cost of printing all this crap had been just given to schools, we might actually see some improvements, in things like repairing crumbling buildings, new textbooks, better teacher pay, and school supplies that aren't paid for out of teachers' pockets.
I don't believe that throwing money at problems will automatically make them go away - but education is the big exception to that.
I know teachers who are forced to test their severely retarded students and fill out reams and reams of paperwork AND attend special workshops that teach them how to do it. I know teachers who spend MORE time on this than they do preparing lessons and materials. This is seriously screwed up.
I think the first Dem governor candidate who comes right out and says the Feds can stuff the relatively small amount of money they get in exchange for this crap will win - and win big.
All of us know a teacher or two. Ask them what they have to go through for NCLB and if they think it's worth it? Ask them to show you the manual they have to figure out and follow.
We Dems have to be brave enough to say more than "NCLB is not being funded." Even if it were, it's the biggest boondoggle fraud perpetrated on state and local governments. Ever. The only ones that benefit are the companies and printers that produce all this crap.
"Take Back Our Schools" resonates with a lot of people who resent like hell the Feds interfering in what should be a local issue. Let the people who know the community run the schools. Let the people who are the primary funders of schools, through property taxes, run the schools.
This is one issue - and it's a huge one - that resonates across party and ideological lines and we need to be the ones to grab it.
eileen from OH