As the first major update to the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) draws near, supporters and opponents of the law are staking out their positions on its various measures. The result of these debates will determine how schools must operate going forward. And if a recent survey is to be believed, there is a significant disparity in how the public, and the Bush administration, view the law.

In an interview with reporters on Aug. 30, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said NCLB is close to perfect and needs little change. That contrasts sharply with...

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