Remember how George W. Bush crafted an education “compromise” with Sen. Edward Kennedy and other leading Democrats? The federal government would significantly increase its spending on education, and in return the states would be held to strict, enforceable standards to improve public education, especially for the poor. Many of us predicted that the money would flow, but eventually the standards would go.
I’m not especially surprised, therefore, to read the following in the Times: “In just five months, the Obama administration has freed schools in more than half the nation from central provisions of the No Child Left Behind education law, raising the question of whether the decade-old federal program has been essentially nullified.”
There’s a definite lesson in this for those who want to pursue “spend money now, in return for reforms in the future,” or “raise taxes now in return for future spending cuts” policies. And it’s a lesson that’s hardly novel.