President Obama meets with students. (Getty Images)

In her Seattle Times column, Lynne K. Varner questions what will replace the oft-disparaged No Child Left Behind Act.

PHILADELPHIA — The Obama administration is accomplishing in education something it failed to do in other contentious policy debates, including the debt-ceiling fracas: anticipate a key political roadblock and smoothly remove it before it creates a stalemate.


The much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act will soon fade into history. No hint on the name of the federal law's successor, but when Congress finally gets moving on overdue reauthorization of federal education law, it will use a new name.

It is a come-to-Jesus moment worth noting. An administration singed and slowed by fiery debates about numerous policy efforts simply cannot afford another conflagration.

A few days ago in the city of Brotherly Love, I caught up with Russlyn Ali, assistant education secretary for civil rights, to find out what comes next.


First, the name change isn't a retreat. Historic levels of federal funding and growing public awareness of education's challenges fuel momentum for an administration looking to move faster on reforms. Jettisoning a name wielded as a punch line is political expediency wrapped in common sense.

Read Lynne K. Varner's entire column at the Seattle Times.