This year's report contained two striking results. The first is that America's nine-year-olds posted their best scores in reading and maths since the tests were introduced (in 1971 in reading and 1973 in maths). The second is that the gap between white students and minorities is narrowing. The nine-year-olds who made the biggest gains of all were blacks, traditionally the most educationally deprived group in American society.While Bush can't claim full credit for the good news, it's attributable to the kind of "testing, transparency and accountability" Bush continued to implement on a National Scale. Economist says Bush style reforms lead to the improvements and will continue to do so if we stick with them. The challange is to the Democrats:
These results pose a new challenge to Mr Bush. He needs to move quickly to extend his reforms to America's high schools, now clearly exposed as the weakest link in the education chain. But they pose even bigger challenges for the Democratic Party. Democrats were once champions of education reform: Bill Clinton first attracted national attention with his reforms of schools in Arkansas. But since the passage of NCLB they have increasingly sided with an education establishment that is bent on defending the status quo from inconvenient reforms. This is surely both a mistake and an abuse of power. For it is now clear that at least some of those reforms offer a much better start in life to America's children, particularly the poorest.