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May 28, 2004

Lies and No Child Left Behind

One way to lie is to mischaracterize statements by opponents or answer a question not asked.

Take No Child Left Behind.

Officials across the country, including Republicans in states struggling to implement the reforms required, have complained that the administration has shortchanged them, cutting the education funds originally promised and dumping the additional costs on the states.

So how does the Bush administration respond?

With this breathless press release/campaign propaganda about a report paid for with tax money:

The General Accounting Office (GAO) released a new report Unfunded Mandates: Analysis of Reform Act Coverage that found that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is in fact not an "unfunded mandate," as critics of the law have claimed.
No Child Left Behind costs states money and the federal government hasn't provided them with the funds promised, but the Bushies decide to narrow the question to a technical definition:
According to the report, NCLB '[d]id not meet the UMRA's [Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995] definition of a mandate because the requirements were a condition of federal financial assistance' and 'any costs incurred by state, local or tribal governments would result from complying' with conditions for receiving the funds.
Get that-- since states can give up all the federal money conditioned on following the program, they technically aren't "mandated" to spend extra money.

All true, and a complete distracting lie in the context of the actual criticisms of the program. But that's how these people work.

Posted by Nathan at May 28, 2004 09:05 AM