In 2002, President Bush put together a measure that he hoped would become one of his signature achievements in office. Initially, No Child Left Behind was heralded by both Democrats and Republicans for bringing attention to achievement gaps between disadvantaged children and those who have more opportunities available to them. But before long, the law's emphasis on standardized testing drew criticism from both parties as well as teachers unions, school administrators and parents.
So it's no surprise that Obama has set out to dismantle the No Child Left Behind law with proposals that would move away from punishing schools that don't meet benchmarks and focus on rewarding schools for progress, particularly with poor and minority students.
President Obama has apparently created a blueprint for education reform that will change the current core of the law from one that focuses on grade-level proficiency to one that ensures students are ready for college or a career.
The blueprint would allow states to use subjects other than reading and mathematics as part of their measurements for meeting federal goals, addressing concerns of parents and teachers who claim that the current law forces teachers to shortchange subjects such as history, art, science and social studies to meet testing goals.
The president's proposal would place more emphasis on academic growth than on the current pass-fail system of monitoring schools. It would also punish the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools using aggressive measures, such as closing the school, having the state take over federal funding for poor students, or replacing the principal and half the teaching staff.
And, for the first time in 45 years, the White House is proposing a $4 billion increase in federal education spending, most of which would go to increase the competition among states for grant money and move away from formula-based funding.
Obama intends to send a rewrite of the education law to Congress today, and it is slated to go before the House Education and Labor Committee on March 17. For all of the details, check out this White House video of President Obama discussing his proposals to overhaul No Child Left Behind: