But this time, the group has an unlikely adversary in its long-shot effort to gut NCLB. It’s being opposed by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights — a coalition of 192 organizations, including the NEA — that supports “the enactment and enforcement of effective civil rights legislation and policy.”
The Leadership Conference says NCLB is civil rights legislation. Given the yawning achievement gap in public schools between whites, blacks and Hispanics, the umbrella group argues that improving public education is a civil rights issue.
“While NCLB is a flawed law — and we have repeatedly called on Congress to make improvements through the reauthorization process — NCLB has been crucial in exposing the extent of the opportunity and achievement gaps plaguing chronically underperforming schools and creating an atmosphere conducive for fundamental education reform,” Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said last month.
The bill pending in the House would temporarily exempt states from enforcing some NCLB accountability requirements until fixes are made to the 2002 law. But in an editorial earlier this month, The New York Times called the House bill “a stealth attempt to gut the national school accountability effort.”