Yesterday’s edition of USA Today had an article entitled, Spellings says No Child law near perfect. You didn’t have to read far to get Education Secretary Margaret Spellings full quote. "I talk about No Child Left Behind like Ivory soap. It’s 99.9% pure or something. There’s not much needed in the way of change."
Now, I’m not a teacher, but I spend a lot of time with them and I haven’t heard too many classroom practitioners claim that this law is even close to perfect, but that’s beside the point. Any time anyone in the public or private sector claims that what they have done is without need for change, I get nervous.
Perfection, if ever reached, is by its nature fleeting. The perfect rose looses its petals and needs to be removed so the rose bush can produce another blossom. (Hey, even I, who has killed plants on a regular basis, know this law of nature.) Call something – flower, person, or law – without need for change and you doom it to stagnation and imperfection.
It seems to me that so many in the current administration are looking for a solution that will fix a problem once and for all rather than looking for a process that will create solutions that work over time.
Madam Secretary, I’d be much happier if you’d concluded your remarks with, "When it come to No Child Left Behind, I’m excited to see what we can change to make it even better!" (The ! is optional, but I would have used it.)