I haven’t given any money to Mark Kennedy’s U.S. Senate campaign. I’ll bet that a lot of people who have will be asking for their money back. He is now airing yet another bizarre ad, this time bashing the No Child Left Behind act that President Bush signed into law in 2002. Kennedy explains that his father was a school superintendent in Pequot Lakes and that his father used to complain about the incoherent rules that he had to follow, which were apparently passed down from state and federal governments. Because these rules apparently exasperated dear ol’ Dad, Congressman Kennedy was duty-bound to oppose the rules set forth by NCLB, too.
There are more than a few problems with this analysis. What Kennedy seems not to understand, or wants to evade, is that the rules set forth in NCLB don’t affect school districts like Pequot Lakes. Pequot Lakes has not had difficulties in teaching its children the basics. Where the issue comes to fore is in other places, like Minneapolis, or Kansas City, or Gary, or Newark, or Washington, DC, where monies have been lavished on school districts and certain students have failed for generations. Tying funding to performance standards may not be the right answer, but the rules that existed prior to NCLB were a disaster in every way. Democrats mostly hate NCLB because they are beholden to the teachers’ unions, who would strongly prefer that their performance not face any scrutiny. Kennedy is not going to get the teachers’ union vote in any event, because he’ll never be able to out-bid the Democrats.
Things could change, but from this vantage point I have to conclude that Kennedy’s opponent, Amy Klobuchar, is the luckiest politician I have ever seen. Too bad she’s not facing a real opponent.