April 12, 2006

'No Child Left Behind' debate set for April 18

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two of the nation's leading education proponents will debate the effectiveness of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale next week.

Former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and former U.S. Secretary of Education Rodney Paige explore both sides of one of the country's most pivotal education measures at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 18, at Shryock Auditorium. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is sponsoring the debate, "No Child Left Behind: Is It Making the Grade?"

The event is free.

Norma S. Ewing, associate dean in the College of Education and Human Services, will serve as moderator.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the legislation signed by President George W. Bush in January 2002 requires greater accountability, provides more choices for parents and greater local control and flexibility for school districts. The legislation is receiving praise and criticism from lawmakers and the educational community.

Daschle served as Senate Majority and Minority Leader for 11 years until 2005. Paige is a former dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University who served as U.S. Secretary of Education during President Bush's first term in office, and guided the legislation through Congress.

"This should be a fascinating event – a clash of perspectives featuring two of the principal players in fashioning one of the most far-reaching and controversial education measures in decades, " institute Director Mike Lawrence said.

Daschle voted for the legislation -- approved in the U.S. Senate, 91-8, institute assistant director Matt Baughman said. But Daschle is critical of the program because he doesn't believe it is living up to expectations. Paige, meanwhile, "has a great deal of ownership" of the legislation, Baughman said.

The debate will focus on whether the legislation is fulfilling its purpose, and if there are improvements in public schools. Daschle and Paige will field questions from the audience, Baughman said.

Developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives, and pursuing leadership opportunities to address social, health and economic development issues of importance to our region are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

For more information, contact the institute at 618/453-4009 or visit http://www.siu.edu/%7eppi/home.htm

Rodney Paige

Rodney Paige
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Tom Daschle

Tom Daschle
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