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Obama Irks Teachers, Re-makes No Child Left Behind

The Obama White House is upending a signature Bush administration education initiative and a prominent teachers union is none too happy about it.

President Obama has proposed a new education "blueprint" which would supplant President George W. Bush's well-known No Child Left Behind Act with a broader focus on education standards. Mr. Obama is calling on schools to gear curriculum more towards getting kids into college, rather than just grade-level proficiency.

In announcing the proposal, the President said, "What this plan recognizes is that while the federal government can play a leading role in encouraging the reforms and high standards we need, the impetus for that change will come from states, and from local schools and school districts."

But the American Federation of Teachers says the fear is that the burden of student failings will fall on teachers. "[I]t appears that despite some promising rhetoric, this blueprint places 100 percent of the responsibility on teachers and gives them zero percent authority," AFT President Randi Weingarten said upon reviewing the plan.

Whereas, President Bush's success calculus was based on testing for math and science, President Obama's addresses a broader range of subjects. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told Fox and Friends this morning, "We're encouraging states to think about assessments in different areas, so yes, reading and math are hugely important, but that narrowing of the curriculum was a complaint I heard coast to coast as I traveled the country over the past year." .

Additionally, Mr. Obama's plan is geared more to rewarding for success, rather than punishing for failure, "Our proposal will provide funds to states and districts to develop and support effective teachers and leaders, with a focus on improving the effectiveness of teachers and leaders in high-need schools," the blueprint reads.

It is that teacher-centric focus that irks some educators, who are not happy upon their first glimpse of the plan.

No Child Left Behind was itself a re-write of a long-standing education bill, The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Obama White House promises to re-brand it once again.

Funding is another aspect of the Bush plan this administration wants to change. The Obama White House will inject some $3.5 billion dollars into its education push. "Part of the problem with No Child Left Behind was it left the money behind," Duncan said.