John Boehner

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Posted by motoman 04/17/2009 @ 08:13

Tags : john boehner, the house, government, politics

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Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner suffer big losses - Politico
to Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), lost as much as 30 percent to 40 percent in net worth, according to financial disclosure forms. But Harman might have seen the most dramatic swing in value. In 2007, Harman owned stock in Harman International...
Boehner talks sh*t about DMV and USPS - prefers health care for ... - Daily Kos
by citisven I don't know if this has been written about, but yesterday on the PBS News Hour John Boehner said something that I think deserves a lot more attention because it reveals how Republicans just don't like middle and low income people....
House Minority Leader Boehner Is Outraged White House Is ... - FOXNews
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: In the meantime, House Minority Leader John Boehner says it really doesn't matter, master, czar, same thing. He says nuts. Well, he doesn't say that, but we thought it would be a good way to frame the debate. Congressman, what do you...
Boehner: Obama 'importing' terrorists - msnbc.com
Said House Minority Leader John Boehner in a statement: This is the first step in the Democrats' plan to import terrorists into America. Without a plan to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, the Administration has made the decision to begin...
I hate John Boehner - Daily Kos
Is this really the message Boehner wants to send the voters? That republican politics should be considered more important to the country than the people being murdered by the fringes of his party? And if so, how many? How many people have to die before...
Market Downturn Hit Lawmakers - Wall Street Journal
John Boehner, the ranking House Republican, reported assets worth between about $1.7 million and about $6.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2008, according to his financial report. The prior year, Mr. Boehner reported that his assets were worth between about...
Taxing health benefits hot issue - Columbus Dispatch
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-West Chester, said the middle class will "get nailed to pay for health care" by taxing health benefits and declared, "I don't think this is going to fly." Here is the way it works today: A company pays a worker...
Getting Kids and Parents Fired Up About Earth Science - SolveClimate
Joe Barton and John Shimkus, or Rep. John Boehner on the talk shows). Fortunately, our kids still have a natural curiosity and insatiable desire to root out the truth. One six-year-old's endless "why?" questions about the planet have become the...

John Boehner

John Boehner

John Andrew Boehner (pronounced BOH-NER); born November 17, 1949) is an American politician of the Republican Party who is currently serving as the House Minority Leader in the 111th Congress, and a U.S. Representative from Ohio's 8th congressional district, which includes portions of the Cincinnati and Dayton suburbs, as well as a small portion of Dayton itself.

On February 2, 2006, John Boehner was elected House Majority Leader following Tom DeLay's resignation from the post after a criminal indictment. On November 17, 2006, after the Republican defeat in the 2006 elections, Boehner was elected House Minority Leader for the 110th Congress. After additional Republican defeats in the 2008 Elections, Boehner was again reelected by his peers to lead the Republican Conference in the 111th Congress.

Boehner was born in Cincinnati to Mary Ann (Hall) and Earl Henry Boehner, as one of 12 brothers and sisters. He has lived in Southwest Ohio his entire life. After graduating from Cincinnati’s Moeller High School in 1968, Boehner enlisted in the United States Navy during the height of the Vietnam War. He was discharged after eight weeks of training because of a bad back. He received a bachelor's degree in business from Xavier University in Cincinnati in 1977, and then worked as a businessman.

He and his wife Debbie have been married for 33 years. They have two daughters – Lindsay and Tricia – and live in the Wetherington section of West Chester Township, Butler County, Ohio.

In 1981 Boehner served on the board of trustees of Union Township, Butler County, Ohio. In 1984, he served as president of that board.

John Boehner served as an Ohio state representative from 1985 to 1990. In 1990, Boehner was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 102nd Congress. During his freshman year, Boehner and fellow members of the Gang of Seven took on the House establishment and during the House banking scandal, successfully closed the House Bank, uncovered "dine-and-dash" practices at the House Restaurant, and exposed drug sales and illegal cash-for-stamps deals at the House Post Office.

From 1995 to 1999, Boehner was the House Republican Conference Chairman. He was the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee from 2001 until 2006, when he resigned to become House Majority Leader.

Boehner is widely credited with championing the 1994 Contract With America, the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, and the passage of "No Child Left Behind Act." He was also alleged to be one of the key figures in the failed 1998 coup to replace House Speaker Newt Gingrich with Buffalo, New York congressman Bill Paxon.

Boehner was elected House Majority Leader on February 2, 2006, following Tom DeLay's departure after DeLay was indicted on criminal charges.

There was some confusion on the first ballot for Majority Leader. The first count showed one more vote was cast than there were Republicans present at the Conference meeting. However, this turned out to be due to a misunderstanding as to whether the rules allowed Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico to vote or not.

Boehner campaigned as a reform candidate who could help both parties of the House cleanse and recover from years of political damage caused by charges of ethics violations, corruption, and money laundering leveled against both parties in the House. He defeated Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and Representative John Shadegg of Arizona, even though he was considered an underdog candidate to Blunt.

Shadegg dropped out of the race after finishing third in the first round of voting. In the second round, Boehner received 122 votes compared to 109 for Blunt. Blunt kept his previous position as Majority Whip, the No. 3 leadership position in the House.

Although Boehner has a strong reputation and a mostly conservative voting record, religious conservatives in the GOP were not satisfied with his positions. According to the Washington Post: "From illegal immigration to sanctions on China to an overhaul of the pension system, Boehner, as chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, took ardently pro-business positions that were contrary to those of many in his party. Religious conservatives — examining his voting record — see him as a policymaker driven by small-government economic concerns, not theirs… He opposed a tough illegal immigration bill that passed in December, 2005 with overwhelming Republican support over Boehner's opposition. One provision in the bill would mandate that every business verify the legality of every employee through the federal terrorism watch list and a database of Social Security numbers. For the bill's authors, the measure is central to choking off illegal immigrants' employment opportunities. To business groups and Boehner, it is unworkable.

After the Republicans lost control of the House in the 2006 elections, Boehner was elected House Minority Leader by the Republican caucus. While as House Majority Leader he was second-in-command in the House Republican caucus behind Speaker Dennis Hastert, as Minority Leader he is the highest-ranking Republican in the House.

According to the 2008 Congress.org Power Ranking, Minority Leader Boehner is the 6th most powerful congressman (preceded by Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, Dean of the House John Dingell, and Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, all Democrats) and the most powerful Republican.

In June 1995, Boehner provoked contentions of unethical conduct when he distributed campaign contributions from tobacco industry lobbyists on the House floor as House members were weighing how to vote on tobacco subsidies. Boehner stopped handing out the checks only "after being questioned about the practice by two freshmen who’d heard about the handoff on the House floor". Rep. Linda Smith (R-WA) said of Boehner’s actions, "f it is not illegal, it should be.". This pressure from within his own party forced him to apologize for handing out the checks. He later led the effort to change House rules and prohibit campaign contributions from being distributed on the House floor.

Boehner's PAC raised $31,500 from four Indian tribes who at one time were associated with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was the central figure in an lobbying scandal. Boehner and spokesmen for the Indian tribes say that the contributions were not related to Abramoff's lobbying.

Boehner rents a two-bedroom Capitol Hill apartment for $1600 a month. The apartment building is owned by a Washington lobbyist; the Washington Post evaluated his rent to be about the market rate. Boehner does not deny his close ties to "K Street" lobbyists and says that his relationships are ethical.

Boehner has been involved in a lawsuit, first filed in 1998, against fellow Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington — the first such case ever between two sitting Congressmen. Boehner v. McDermott centered on the release by McDermott to the media of and taped conference call between Boehner, Newt Gingrich, and other Republican Congressional leaders that had been illegally recorded through a radio scanner and given to McDermott by a Florida couple. The call was a discussion of strategy over an investigation of Gingrich by the House Ethics Committee. Gingrich had publicly pledged not to organize opposition to the probe. The Florida couple were later fined $500 for violating the federal wiretapping law. McDermott was ordered to pay $60,000 to Boehner in addition to attorney fees and costs, which may amount to $500,000 based on his violation of House Ethics rules.

Republican Leader John Boehner told The Washington Post that he knew of "contact" between Foley and Congressional pages in the spring, but was unaware of their nature or content. Boehner maintains that he believes he informed Speaker Dennis Hastert, and that Hastert assured him it had been "taken care of." Boehner says that he was unaware of Foley's e-mails and instant messages until the messages were released to ABC News and other sources.

In the November 2006 election, Boehner easily defeated the Democratic Party candidate, U.S. Air Force veteran Mort Meier, 64% to 36%.

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Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Newton "Newt" Leroy Gingrich (born Newton Leroy McPherson on June 17, 1943) is an American politician and author, who served as the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. In 1995, Time magazine selected him as the Person of the Year for his role in leading the Republican Revolution in the House, ending 40 years of Democratic Party majorities in that body. During his tenure as Speaker he represented the public face of the Republican opposition to Bill Clinton.

A college history professor, political leader, and author, Gingrich twice ran unsuccessfully for the House before winning a seat in November 1978. He was re-elected 10 times, and his activism as a member of the House's Republican minority eventually enabled him to succeed Dick Cheney as House Minority Whip in 1989. As a co-author of the 1994 Contract with America, Gingrich was in the forefront of the Republican Party's dramatic success in the 1994 Congressional elections and subsequently was elected Speaker. Gingrich's leadership in Congress was marked by opposition to many of the policies of the Clinton Administration. Shortly after the 1998 elections, where Republicans lost 5 seats in the House, Gingrich announced his resignation from his House seat and as Speaker.

After resigning his seat, Gingrich has maintained a career as a political analyst and consultant and continues to write works related to government and other subjects, such as historical fiction. Recently he founded the think tank American Solutions.

Newt Gingrich was born Newton Leroy McPherson on June 17, 1943, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to nineteen-year-old Newton Searles McPherson and sixteen-year-old Kathleen Daugherty, who were married in September 1942. His mother raised him by herself until she married Robert Gingrich, who then adopted Newt. Gingrich has a younger half-sister, Candace Gingrich, a gay and lesbian rights activist who was born when Newt was already a young adult.

Gingrich was the child of a career military family, moving a number of times while growing up and attending school at various military installations. He ultimately graduated from Baker High School in Columbus, Georgia, in 1961. He received a B.A. degree from Emory University in Atlanta in 1965. He received an M.A. in 1968 and a PhD in 1971 in Modern European History from Tulane University in New Orleans. His dissertation topic was Belgian Education policy in Africa. While at Tulane, Gingrich, who at the time belonged to no religious group, began attending the St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church to pursue an interest in the effect of religion on political theory; he was soon baptized by the Rev. Mr G. Avery Lee.

Gingrich taught history at University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, from 1970 to 1978, although he was untenured. He also taught a class, Renewing American Civilization, at Kennesaw State University in 1993.

Although college peers noted Gingrich's preference to discuss politics more than his personal life, Gingrich’s personal life has been the subject of much attention from both the media and his political opponents over the years.

Gingrich has been married three times. He married Jackie Battley, his former high school geometry teacher, when he was 19 years old (she was seven years his senior at 26 years old). They had two daughters and divorced in 1981. She claims he "discussed divorce terms with her while she was recuperating in the hospital from cancer surgery", an action that would later be used against him; in 1992, his Democratic opponent, Tony Center, ran an ad pointing out this fact.

In 1981, six months after his divorce was final, Gingrich wed Marianne Ginther. He remained married to Ginther until 2000, when they divorced. Shortly thereafter, Gingrich married Callista Bisek, with whom he later admitted to having had an affair during his second marriage, at approximately the same time that he was leading the Congressional investigation of Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Newt and Callista currently live in McLean, Virginia.

A Baptist since graduate school, Gingrich converted to Catholicism, his wife's faith, on March 29, 2009.

In April 2007, Gingrich held an open debate on climate change with Senator John Kerry. In this debate, he stated that he believes that global warming is indeed an occurring phenomenon: "My message, I think, is that the evidence is sufficient that we should move toward the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon loading in the atmosphere." Gingrich's environmental ideas were revealed in his book, A Contract with the Earth. Gingrich supports tax breaks to mitigate carbon emissions instead of regulations such as cap-and-trade. Gingrich claims to have a commitment to conservation efforts.

In late 2008, Gingrich voiced his strong opposition to allowing American taxpayers to bail out several failing financial institutions. He described the $700 billion bailout plan as "just wrong" and that "it's likely to fail, and it's likely to make the situation worse over time." Gingrich further iterated that the bailout was "essentially wrong" in other appearances on Fox News on September 23 and 24, 2008. Some commentators have suspected that he undercut John McCain by rallying the conservative elements in the House to vote no on the bailout. He changed his mind by September 29 and decided that he would "reluctantly and sadly" support it.

In 1974 and 1976, Gingrich made two unsuccessful runs for Congress in Georgia's sixth congressional district, which stretched from the southern Atlanta suburbs to the Alabama state line. Gingrich lost both times to incumbent Democrat Jack Flynt. Flynt was a conservative Democrat who had served in Congress since 1955 and never faced a serious challenge prior to Gingrich's two runs against him. However, Gingrich nearly defeated Flynt in 1974, a year that was otherwise a very bad year for Republicans due to Watergate. A 1976 rematch was similarly close, despite the presence of favorite Jimmy Carter on the presidential ballot.

Flynt chose not to run for re-election in 1978, and the Democrats fielded state senator Virginia Shapard in his place. Shapard's support of the Equal Rights Amendment backfired against her in the socially conservative district, and Gingrich defeated her by almost 9 points.

Gingrich was reelected six times from this district, facing only one truly difficult race. In the House elections of 1990, he defeated Democrat David Worley by only 974 votes.

In 1981, Gingrich co-founded the Congressional Military Reform Caucus (MRC) as well as the Congressional Aviation and Space Caucus. In 1983 he founded the Conservative Opportunity Society, a group that included young conservative House Republicans. In 1983, Gingrich demanded the expulsion of fellow representatives Dan Crane and Gerry Studds for their roles in the Congressional Page sex scandal.

In May 1988, Gingrich (along with 77 other House members and Common Cause) brought ethics charges against Democratic Speaker Jim Wright, who was alleged to have used a book deal to circumvent campaign-finance laws and House ethics rules and eventually resigned as a result of the inquiry. Gingrich's success in forcing Wright's resignation was in part responsible for his rising influence in the Republican caucus. In 1989, after House Minority Whip Dick Cheney was appointed Secretary of Defense, Gingrich was elected to succeed him. Gingrich and others in the house, especially the newly minted Gang of Seven, railed against what they saw as ethical lapses in the House, an institution that had been under Democratic control for almost 40 years. The House banking scandal and Congressional Post Office Scandal were emblems of the corruption exposed.

During the 1990s round of redistricting, Georgia picked up an additional seat as a result of the 1990 United States Census. However, the Democratic-controlled General Assembly dismantled Gingrich's old district, which stretched from the southern suburbs of Atlanta to the Alabama border. Gingrich's home in Carrollton was drawn into the Columbus-based 3rd District, represented by five-term Democrat Richard Ray.

At the same time, they created a new 6th District in Fulton and Cobb counties in the wealthy northern suburbs of Atlanta — an area Gingrich had never represented. However, Gingrich sold his home in Carrollton, moved to Marietta in the new 6th and won a very close Republican primary. The primary victory was tantamount to election in the new, heavily Republican district. Also, Ray narrowly lost to Republican state senator Mac Collins.

In the 1994 campaign season, in an effort to offer a concrete alternative to shifting Democratic policies and to unite distant wings of the Republican Party, Gingrich presented Dick Armey's and his Contract with America. The contract was signed by himself and other Republican candidates for the House of Representatives. The contract ranged from issues with broad popular support, including welfare reform, term limits, tougher crime laws, and a balanced budget law, to more specialized legislation such as restrictions on American military participation in U.N. missions. In the November 1994 elections, Republicans gained 54 seats and took control of the House for the first time since 1954.

Longtime House Minority Leader Bob Michel of Illinois had not run for re-election in 1994, giving Gingrich, as the highest-ranking Republican returning to Congress, the inside track to becoming Speaker. Legislation proposed by the 104th United States Congress included term limits for Congressional Representatives, tax cuts, welfare reform, and a balanced budget amendment, as well as independent auditing of the finances of the House of Representatives and elimination of non-essential services such as the House barbershop and shoe-shine concessions. Congress fulfilled Gingrich's Contract promise to bring all ten of the Contract's issues to a vote within the first 100 days of the session, even though most legislation was held up in the Senate, vetoed by President Bill Clinton, or substantially altered in negotiations with Clinton. The Contract was criticized by the Sierra Club and by Mother Jones magazine as a Trojan horse tactic that, while deploying the rhetoric of reform, would have the real effect of allowing corporate polluters to profit at the expense of the environment; it was referred to by opponents, including President Clinton, as the "Contract on America".

However, most parts of the Contract eventually became law in some fashion and represented a dramatic departure from the legislative goals and priorities of previous Congresses. See Implementation of the Contract for a detailed discussion of what was and was not enacted.

The momentum of the Republican Revolution stalled in late 1995 and early 1996 as a result of a budget fight between Congressional Republicans and President Bill Clinton. Speaker Gingrich and the new Republican majority claimed they wanted to slow the rate of increase in government spending. Gingrich led a Republican revolt to not submit a revised budget, allowing the previously approved appropriations to expire on schedule, and causing parts of the Federal government to shut down for lack of funds. Gingrich inflicted a blow to his public image by seeming to suggest that the Republican hard-line stance over the budget was in part due to his feeling "snubbed" by the President the day before following his return from Yitzhak Rabin's funeral in Israel. Gingrich was lampooned in the media as a petulant figure with an inflated self-image, and at least one editorial cartoon depicted him as having thrown a temper tantrum. Democratic leaders took the opportunity to attack Gingrich's motives for the budget standoff, and some say the shutdown might have contributed to Clinton's re-election in November 1996.

In her autobiography Living History, former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton shows a picture of Bill Clinton, Dole, and Gingrich laughing on the plane. Gingrich claims in his book Lessons Learned the Hard Way that the picture was taken on the plane going to Yitzhak Rabin's funeral in Israel rather than on the return trip from Israel, contradicting Clinton's claim.

Eighty-four ethics charges, most of which were leveled by House Democratic Whip David Bonior, were filed against Speaker Gingrich during his term, including claiming tax-exempt status for a college course run for political purposes. 83 of the 84 were dropped. However, Gingrich admitted to providing inaccurate statements during the probe over the college course and agreed to pay US$300,000 for the cost of the investigation, despite denying the charges over misuse of tax-exempt funds. The House Ethics Committee concluded that inaccurate information supplied to investigators represented "intentional or ... reckless" disregard of House rules. Special Counsel James M. Cole concluded that Gingrich violated federal tax law and had lied to the ethics panel in an effort to force the committee to dismiss the complaint against him. However, the full panel refused to reach a conclusion about whether Gingrich had violated federal tax law and instead decided to leave that finding up to the IRS. In 1999, the IRS cleared the organizations connected with the "Renewing American Civilization" courses under investigation for possible tax violations.

In the summer of 1997, a few House Republicans had come to see Gingrich's public image as a liability and attempted to replace him as Speaker. According to Time, the replacement was engineered by several Republican backbenchers, including Steve Largent of Oklahoma, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mark Souder of Indiana. They soon gained the support of the four Republicans who ranked directly below Gingrich in the House leadership Dick Armey, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Republican conference chairman John Boehner of Ohio, and Republican leadership chairman Bill Paxon of New York.

On July 9, DeLay, Boehner and Paxon had the first of several secret meetings to discuss the rebellion. The next night, DeLay met with 20 of the plotters in Largent's office, and appeared to assure them that the leadership was with them.

Under the plan, Armey, DeLay, Boehner and Paxon were to present Gingrich with an ultimatum — resign or be voted out. Combined with the votes of the Democrats, there appeared to be enough votes to vacate the chair. However, the rebels decided that they wanted Paxon to be the new Speaker. At that point, Armey backed out, and told his chief of staff to warn Gingrich about the coup.

In response, Gingrich forced Paxon to resign his post, but backed off initial plans to force a vote of confidence in the rest of the Republican leadership.

By 1998, Gingrich had become a highly visible and polarizing figure in the public's eye, making him an easy target for Democratic congressional candidates across the nation. In 1997 a strong majority of Americans believed Gingrich should have been replaced as Speaker of the House, and he held an all-time low job approval rating of 28% although his approval later rose to 45% by April 1998.

During this period, Gingrich focused on the perjury charges against Clinton as a unifying campaign theme in national Republican advertising. While Republicans believed this theme would ensure gains in the 1998 midterm elections, they instead lost five seats in the House — the worst performance in 64 years for a party that didn't hold the presidency. Polls showed that Gingrich and the Republican Party's attempt to remove President Clinton from office was widely unpopular among the American public.

Gingrich suffered much of the blame for the election loss. Facing another rebellion in the Republican caucus, he announced on November 6 that he would not only stand down as Speaker, but would leave the House as well. He had been handily reelected to an 11th term in that election, but declined to take his seat. According to Newsweek, he had lost control over his caucus long before the election, and it was possible that he would not have been reelected as Speaker in any case.

Gingrich has since remained involved in national politics and public policy debate. He is a senior fellow at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, focusing on health care (he has founded the Center for Health Transformation), information technology, the military, and politics. Gingrich is also a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, focusing on U.S. politics, world history, national security policy, and environmental policy issues. He sometimes serves as a commentator, guest or panel member on television news shows, mostly on the Fox News Channel. He is listed as a contributor by Fox News Channel, and frequently appears as a guest on the channel; he has also hosted occasional specials for the Fox News Channel. He is also a guiding coalition member of the Project on National Security Reform.

In late September 2007, Gingrich founded the non-partisan organization American Solutions for Winning the Future. The stated mission of the group is to become the "leading grassroots movement to recruit, educate, and empower citizen activists and elected officials to develop solutions to transform all levels of government." Gingrich spoke of the group and its non-partisan objectives at the CPAC conference of 2008 and currently serves as its General Chairman.

In June 2006, Gingrich publicly called for Congressman Jack Murtha to be censured by the United States Congress for what Gingrich claims was Murtha's statement that America was a greater threat to world stability than Iran or North Korea. The paper that originally printed the statement has recently backed away and admitted that Murtha had been misquoted and was merely citing a poll that showed the world believed the United States was a greater threat than either of those nations. Gingrich, however, has refused to apologize or retract his call for Murtha to be censured.

Besides politics, Gingrich has authored a book, Rediscovering God in America, attempting to demonstrate that the Founding Fathers actively intended the new republic to not only allow, but encourage religious expression in the public square. Since Gingrich has, "dedicated much of his time to calling America back to our Christian heritage", Jerry Falwell invited him to be the speaker, for the second time, at Liberty University's graduation, May 19, 2007. Speaker Gingrich has also collaborated with David Bossie and Citizens United Productions to produce and co-host with his wife, Callista Gingrich, a DVD which shares its name with the book.

Recently, he has responded to Geraldine Ferraro's comments about Barack Obama's success by saying they are "childish" but "true".

Some years later, Gingrich and Forstchen turned to co-authoring an alternate history trilogy of the American Civil War, in which the Confederacy wins the battle of Gettysburg. The trilogy consists of Gettysburg (2003), Grant Comes East (2004), and Never Call Retreat (2005).

In 2007 they published Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th, the first of a new series. The next year he published the sequel Days of Infamy, an alternate history with an identical title and similar basis as successful alternate history novelist Harry Turtledove's own Pacific War novel.

Between 2005 and 2007, Gingrich expressed interest in being a candidate for the 2008 Republican nomination for the Presidency. On September 28, 2007, Gingrich announced that if his supporters pledged $30 million to his campaign (until October 21), he would compete for the nomination.

However, on September 29 spokesman Rick Tyler said that Gingrich would not seek the presidency in 2008 because he could not continue to serve as chairman of American Solutions. "It is legally impermissible for him to continue on as chairman of American Solutions (for Winning the Future) and to explore a campaign for president," Tyler said.

Several political commentators, including Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic and Robert Novak in the Washington Post, have identified Gingrich as a top contender for a presidential run in 2012, with Ambinder stating that he "is already planting some seeds in Iowa, New Hampshire".

Alternate history is a subgenre of speculative fiction that is set in a world in which history has diverged from history as it is generally known. Gingrich co-wrote the following alternate history novels and series of novels with William R. Forstchen.

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Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi (born March 26, 1940) is the current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. She is a Democrat. Before being elected Speaker in the 110th Congress, she was the House Minority Leader from 2003 to 2007, holding the post during the 108th, and 109th Congresses.

Since 1987, she has represented the 8th Congressional District of California, which consists of four-fifths of the City and County of San Francisco. The district was numbered as the 5th during Pelosi's first three terms in the House.

With her election as Speaker, she is the first female Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. She is also the first Italian-American and first Californian to serve as Speaker. She is the second Speaker from a state west of the Rocky Mountains, with the first being Washington's Tom Foley, who was the last Democrat to hold the post before Pelosi. As Speaker of the House, Pelosi ranks second in the line of presidential succession, following Vice President Joe Biden, which makes her the highest-ranking female politician in United States history.

Pelosi was born in Baltimore, Maryland. The youngest of six children, she was involved with politics from an early age. Her father, Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., was a U.S. Congressman from Maryland and a Mayor of Baltimore. Her brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, also a Democrat, was mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971, when he declined to run for a second term. Pelosi graduated from Institute of Notre Dame, a Catholic all-girls high school in Baltimore, and from Trinity College (now Trinity Washington University) in Washington, D.C. in 1962. Pelosi interned for Senator Daniel Brewster (D-Maryland) alongside future House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. She met Paul Frank Pelosi (b. April 15, 1940 in San Francisco, California) while she was attending Trinity College. They married in a Catholic church on September 7, 1963. After the couple married they moved to New York, and then to San Francisco in 1969, where his brother, Ronald Pelosi was a member of the City and County of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors.

After moving to San Francisco, Pelosi worked her way up in Democratic politics. She was elected as party chairwoman for Northern California on January 30, 1977. She later joined forces with one of the leaders of the California Democratic Party, 5th District Congressman Phillip Burton. And in 1987, after her youngest child became a high school senior, she decided to run for political office.

Pelosi is a board member of the National Organization of Italian American Women.

Pelosi lives in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.

Pelosi has five children: Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul, and Alexandra, as well as seven grandchildren. Alexandra, a journalist, covered the Republican presidential campaigns in 2000 and made a film about the experience, Journeys with George. In 2007, Christine published a book, Campaign Boot Camp: Basic Training for Future Leaders.

The Pelosi family has a net worth of nearly $19 million as of 2007, primarily from investments. In addition to their large portfolio of jointly owned San Francisco Bay Area real estate, the couple also owns a vineyard in St. Helena, California, valued at $5 million to $25 million. Pelosi's husband also owns stock, including $5 million in Apple Computer. Pelosi continues to be among the richest members of Congress.

Phillip Burton died in 1983 and was succeeded by his wife, Sala. In late 1986, Sala became ill with cancer and decided not to run for reelection in 1988. She picked Pelosi as her designated successor, guaranteeing her the support of the Burtons' contacts. Sala died on February 1, 1987, just a month after being sworn in for a second full term. Pelosi won the special election to succeed her, narrowly defeating San Francisco Supervisor Harry Britt on April 7, 1987, then easily defeating Republican candidate Harriet Ross on June 2, 1987; Pelosi took office a week later. She has the distinction of contributing the most among members of Congress to other congressional campaigns because she is in a safe district and does not need the campaign funds.

Pelosi represents one of the safest Democratic districts in the country. Democrats have held the seat since 1949, and Republicans, who currently make up only 13 percent of registered voters in the district, have not made a serious bid for the seat since the early 1960s. Pelosi has kept this tradition going. Since her initial victory in 1987, she has been re-elected 11 times, receiving at least 75% of the vote. She has never participated in candidates' debates.

In the House, she served on the Appropriations and Intelligence Committees, and was the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee until her election as Speaker.

In 2001, Pelosi was elected the House Minority Whip, second-in-command to Minority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri. She was the first woman in U.S. history to hold that position. Since then, she has campaigned for candidates in 30 states and in 90 Congressional districts, making her a vital factor for the Democratic Party.

In 2002, after Gephardt resigned as minority leader to seek the Democratic nomination in the 2004 presidential election, Pelosi was elected to replace him, becoming the first woman to lead a minority and major party in the House.

Shortly after winning re-election, President George W. Bush claimed a mandate for an ambitious second-term agenda that would include the privatization of Social Security. Pelosi strongly opposed the privatization of Social Security, and as minority leader imposed intense party discipline on her caucus, leading them to near-unanimous opposition of Bush's proposal. With a unified Democratic Party pushing against the President's plan, Social Security privatization was defeated.

In the wake of George W. Bush's reelection in 2004, several leading House Democrats believed that Democrats should pursue impeachment proceedings against the president. They asserted that Bush had misled Congress about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and had violated the civil liberties of Americans by authorizing wiretaps without a warrant.

After becoming Speaker of the House in January 2007, Pelosi held firm against impeachment, notwithstanding strong support for that course of action among constituents in her home district. In the November 2008 election, Pelosi withstood a challenge for her seat by antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, who ran as an independent primarily because of Pelosi's refusal to pursue impeachment.

On November 16, 2006, Pelosi was unanimously chosen as the Democratic candidate for Speaker, effectively making her Speaker-elect. While the Speaker is elected by the full House membership, in modern practice the election is a formality, since the Speaker always comes from the majority party.

Pelosi supported her longtime friend, John Murtha of Pennsylvania, for the position of House Majority Leader, the second-ranking post in the House Democratic caucus. His competitor was House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who had been Pelosi's second-in-command since 2003. Pelosi and Hoyer had a somewhat frosty relationship dating back to 2001, when they ran against each other for minority whip. However, Hoyer was elected as House Majority Leader over Murtha by a margin of 149-86 within the caucus.

On January 3, Pelosi defeated Republican John Boehner of Ohio with 233 votes compared to his 202 votes in the election for Speaker of the House. She was nominated by Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the incoming chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and sworn in by her longtime friend, John Dingell of Michigan, as the longest-serving member of the House traditionally does.

With her election, Pelosi became the first woman, the first Californian and the first Italian-American to hold the Speakership. She is also the second Speaker from a state west of the Rocky Mountains. The first was Washington's Tom Foley, the last Democrat to hold the post before Pelosi.

As Speaker, Pelosi is still the leader of the House. However, by tradition, she does not normally participate in debate (though she has the right to do so), and almost never votes on the floor. She is also not a member of any House committees.

Pelosi was re-elected Speaker in 2009.

Prior to the U.S. 2006 midterm elections, Pelosi announced a plan for action: If elected, she and the newly-empowered Democratic caucus would push through most of its program during the first hundred hours of the 110th Congress' term. Later she said this referred to business hours rather than clock time, and began on the Tuesday (January 9, 2007) after the swearing-in ceremony on January 4.

The origin for the name "first hundred hours" is a play on words derived from former Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt's promise for quick action on the part of government (to combat the Great Depression) during his "first hundred days" in office. Newt Gingrich, the former Republican Speaker, had a similar 100-day agenda to implement the Contract with America.

Pelosi was named Permanent Chair of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

Pelosi was one of seven American lawmakers to participate in a 2007 Mideast tour — with Keith Ellison (D-MN), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Tom Lantos (D-CA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Nick Rahall (D-WV), and David Hobson (R-OH) — that included stops in Israel, Syria, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. Three Republican congressmen — Frank Wolf, Joe Pitts and Robert Aderholt — met with Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier. Pelosi had the opportunity to address the Israeli Knesset where she expressed concern "that the new (Hamas-Fatah) Palestinian government, some of the people in the government, continue to remain committed to the existence of Israel". An Israeli spokeswoman said Pelosi would convey "that Israel is willing to talk if they (Syria) would openly take steps to stop supporting terrorism" in order to be "a partner for negotiations". The delegation talked "extensively" with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert about a relaunched 2002 Saudi peace plan with Israel, which Olmert welcomed as a "new way of thinking, the willingness to recognize Israel as an established fact and to debate the conditions of the future solution", but expressed reservations over the plan and invited Arab leaders to discuss them. The delegation met with the families of the three kidnapped Israeli soldiers during the visit and Pelosi said she planned to raise the issue when she met with Assad.

At a press conference after her meeting with Assad, Pelosi said that she had conveyed a message from Olmert to Syrian President Assad saying that Olmert was ready to negotiate for peace. Olmert's office later clarified what he had actually told Pelosi, saying that "although Israel is interested in peace with Syria, that country continues to be part of the axis of evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East". Sources at the Israeli Prime Minister's Office at the time said that, "Pelosi took part of the things that were said in the meeting, and used what suited her".

The Bush Administration disapproves of Syria's backing of Hamas and Hezbollah and says Syria is destabilizing Lebanon's government as well as fueling Iraq's violence by allowing Sunni insurgents to operate from its territory. Syrian officials have been implicated in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri in Beirut, and the U.S. subsequently withdrew its ambassador. Pelosi still holds out hope for a peaceful solution, stating that "the road to Damascus is a road to peace".

Later, in Saudi Arabia, Pelosi met with King Abdullah. Pelosi visited the Shura Council, the kingdom's unelected advisory council, and raised the issue of Saudi Arabia's lack of female politicians with Saudi officials.

On March 21, 2008, Pelosi criticized the People's Republic of China for its handling of the unrest in Tibet and called on "freedom-loving people" worldwide to denounce China. She was quoted as saying, "The situation in Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of the world", while addressing a crowd of thousands of Tibetans in Dharamsala, India. She however did not call for a boycott of the 2008 Summer Olympics that were held in Beijing.

On October 24, 2008, Pelosi commended the European Parliament for its "bold decision" to award the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Chinese dissident and human rights activist Hu Jia. "I call on the Chinese government to immediately and unconditionally release Hu Jia from prison and to respect the fundamental freedoms of all the people in China", Pelosi's statement read.

Pelosi publicly scolded Colombian President Álvaro Uribe during Uribe's May 2007 state trip to America. Pelosi met with Uribe and later released a statement that she and other members of Congress had "expressed growing concerns about the serious allegations" of links between Paramilitary groups and Colombian government officials. Pelosi also came out against the Colombian free trade agreement.

Pelosi voted in favor of keeping the travel restrictions on American citizens to Cuba, until the President has certified that Cuba has released all political prisoners, and extradited all individuals sought by the U.S. on charges of air piracy, drug trafficking and murder.

In a February 15, 2007 interview, Pelosi noted that Bush consistently said he supports a diplomatic resolution to differences with Iran "and I take him at his word". At the same time, she said, "I do believe that Congress should assert itself, though, and make it very clear that there is no previous authority for the president, any president, to go into Iran". On January 12, 2007, Congressman Walter B. Jones of North Carolina introduced a resolution requiring that—absent a national emergency created by an attack, or a demonstrably imminent attack, by Iran upon the United States or its armed forces—the President must consult with Congress and receive specific authorization prior to initiating any use of military force against Iran. This resolution was removed from a military spending bill for the war in Iraq by Pelosi on March 13, 2007.

In mid-October 2007, after the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution to label the 1915 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide, Pelosi pledged to bring the measure to a vote. The draft resolution prompted warnings from President Bush and fierce criticism from Turkey, with Turkey's prime minister saying that approval of the resolution would endanger U.S.-Turkey relations. After House support eroded, the measure's sponsors dropped their call for a vote, and in late October Pelosi agreed to set the matter aside.

Pelosi is regarded as a liberal, in part because she represents most of San Francisco, well known for its tradition of left-leaning politics. She consistently receives high ratings from liberal lobbying groups such as Americans for Democratic Action and People for the American Way, and she has a lifetime rating of 3 from the right-leaning American Conservative Union. During the 2004 and 2006 election cycles, Republicans frequently used the prospect of a "San Francisco liberal" or "Bay Area liberal" becoming Speaker as a tool to win votes, especially in the South. She was a founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but left in 2003 after being elected Minority Leader. She felt that it would be inappropriate for her to be a member of any caucuses.

Among Pelosi's Democratic colleagues, she is considered to be far less liberal than portrayed. Her longtime friend, Jim McDermott of Washington, told Newsweek that he and other left-leaning Democratic congressmen sometimes wish that "she would tilt a little more our way from time to time". During the 2006 campaign, corporate consultants suggested that the Democrats portray themselves as a party that governed for all. As Speaker, Pelosi has tried to focus more on economic than social issues.

In San Francisco, Pelosi is seen as being a moderate and sometimes even a conservative rather than a liberal, which has led to some conflicts with her constituents, particularly with anti-war activists. Nonetheless, she has never faced a serious challenger in the Democratic primary or from the Green Party, which is competitive in local elections.

On September 2, 2008, she visited Hiroshima, Japan, for a G8 summit meeting of lower house speakers and offered flowers in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing. While many world leaders have visited Hiroshima over the years, she is the highest-ever sitting U.S. official to pay her respects.

Pelosi supports the legality of abortion. She voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and earlier attempts at similar bans. She voted in favor of the 1998 Abortion Funding Amendment, which allowed the use of district funds to promote abortion-related activities.

She has also voted in favor of using federal funds to perform abortions in overseas military facilities, against parental notification when a minor is transported across state lines for an abortion, and in favor of providing funding for organizations working overseas that promote or perform abortions and abortion-related activities.

Leading bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have criticized Pelosi about her stance on abortion.

During the 2008 campaign season, Pelosi commented that there was disagreement within the Catholic Church about abortion and when life begins. This drew a rebuke from the Archbishop of Washington, who said Pelosi was incorrect and the official catechism of the Catholic Church on the matter was clear and unchangeable. In February 2009, Pelosi met with her bishop, Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco, and with Pope Benedict XVI to discuss her position on abortion. The Catholic News Service reported that the Pope rebuked Pelosi for her position.

Pelosi favors the federal bailout of the banks and the auto industry.

Pelosi has been an advocate for a balanced budget, though she voted against the 1995 Balanced Budget Proposed Constitutional Amendment, which was passed by the House by a 300-132 vote, but in the Senate fell two votes short of the 2/3 supermajority required (with 65 out of 100 Senators voting in favor).

The ACLU's Congressional Scorecard has given Pelosi a lifetime rating of 93% for her voting record on civil liberties. In 2001, she voted in favor of the USA Patriot Act but voted against reauthorization of certain provisions in 2005. She voted against a Constitutional amendment banning flag-burning and against a Congressional resolution supporting the display of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms.

Pelosi favors delaying the transition to digital TV to later in 2009 and funding an additional $650 million to give away digital TV converters.

Pelosi voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, which instituted testing to track students' progress and authorized an increase in overall education spending.

Pelosi has supported the development of new technologies to reduce U.S. dependence upon foreign oil and ameliorate the adverse environmental effects of burning fossil fuels. Pelosi has widely supported conservation programs and energy research appropriations. She has also voted to remove an amendment that would allow for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Pelosi has blocked efforts to revive offshore oil drilling in protected areas, reasoning that offshore drilling could lead to an increase in dependence on fossil fuels.

Speaker Pelosi has voted to increase Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Pelosi has been a supporter of rights for immigrants in the U.S. She voted against the Secure Fence Act of 2006. In March 2009, Pelosi told a group that included illegal immigrants that enforcing immigration laws was "un-American", and praised illegal immigrants for being "very, very patriotic".

Pelosi reaffirms that "America and Israel share an unbreakable bond: in peace and war; and in prosperity and in hardship". Pelosi emphasized that "a strong relationship between the United States and Israel has long been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. America's commitment to the safety and security of the State of Israel is unwavering,...owever, the war in Iraq has made both America and Israel less safe." Pelosi's voting record shows consistent support for Israel. Prior to 2006 elections in the Palestinian Authority, she voted for a Congressional initiative disapproving of participation in the elections by Hamas and other organizations defined as terrorist by the legislation. She agrees with the current U.S. stance in support of land-for-peace. She has applauded Israeli "hopeful signs" of offering land, while criticizing Palestinian "threats" of not demonstrating peace in turn. She states, "If the Palestinians agree to coordinate with Israel on the evacuation, establish the rule of law, and demonstrate a capacity to govern, the world may be convinced that finally there is a real partner for peace".

During the 2006 Lebanon War, Pelosi voted in favor of Resolution 921 on the count that "the seizure of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah terrorists was an unprovoked attack and Israel has the right, and indeed the obligation, to respond". She argues that organizations and political bodies in the Mideast like Hamas and Hezbollah "have a greater interest in maintaining a state of hostility with Israel than in improving the lives of the people they claim to represent". Pelosi asserts that civilians on both sides of the border "have been put at risk by the aggression of Hamas and Hezbollah" in part for their use of "civilians as shields by concealing weapons in civilian areas".

In September 2008, Pelosi hosted a reception in Washington with Israeli Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik, along with 20 members of Congress where they toasted the "strong friendship" between Israel and the United States. During the ceremony, Pelosi held up the dog tags of the three Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah and Hamas in 2006 and stated that she keeps them as a "symbol of the sacrifices made, sacrifices far too great by the people of the state of Israel".

Pelosi opposed U.S. intervention to liberate Kuwait during the 1991 Gulf War.

Pelosi received a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign for the 107th,108th, and 109th sessions of Congress, indicating that she voted in agreement with HRC's slate of pro-gay legislative issues. In 1996 she voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, and in 2004 and 2006, she voted against the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, which would amend the United States Constitution to define marriage federally as being between one man and one woman, thereby overriding states' individual rights to legalize gay marriage. When the Supreme Court of California overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage, Pelosi released a statement welcoming the "historic decision." She voiced her opposition to Proposition 8, the successful ballot initiative, which sought to define marriage as between a man and a woman in the state.

Pelosi introduced the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act to Congress.

Pelosi supports reform in marijuana laws. She also supports use of medical marijuana.

In regard to Representative Charles Rangel's (D-NY) plan to introduce legislation that would reinstate the draft, Pelosi stated that she did not support such legislation.

As Speaker of the House, she also spearheaded the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 as part of the 100-Hour Plan. The Act raises the minimum wage in the United States and the territories of the Northern Marianas Islands and American Samoa. American Samoa was initially absent from the act, but as part of HR 2206 it was included. One Republican congressman who voted against the initial bill accused Pelosi of unethically benefiting Del Monte Foods (headquartered in her district) by the exclusion of the territory, where Del Monte's StarKist Tuna brand is a major employer. Pelosi co-sponsored legislation that omitted American Samoa from a raise in the minimum wage as early as 1999, prior to Del Monte's acquisition of StarKist Tuna in 2002. As of the 2002, 2004, and 2006 election cycles, Del Monte has not contributed to Democratic candidates.

Pelosi officially opposes the interrogation technique of waterboarding. In 2002, Pelosi and several other Congressional leaders received a briefing on then-secret interrogation techniques including waterboarding. Pelosi's office stated that she later protested the technique and that she concurred with objections raised by a Democratic colleague in a letter to the C.I.A. in early 2003.

Pelosi opposed the welfare reform proposed by then-President Bush as well as reforms proposed and passed under President Clinton.

In mid-July 2008, two days after President George W. Bush stated that Congress was relatively inactive and said, "This is not a record to be proud of, and I think the American people deserve better", Pelosi responded by calling the president "a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the war, on the economy, on energy, you name the subject" and that Congress had been "sweeping up after his mess over and over and over again".

Pelosi's only close race so far has been the special election to succeed Sala Burton's seat after her death in February 1987. In the special election's Democratic primary, Pelosi narrowly defeated San Francisco Supervisor Harry Britt, considered the more "progressive" candidate, with 36 percent of the vote to his 32 percent. In the runoff against Republican candidate Harriet Ross, Pelosi received more than a 2 to 1 majority of cast votes in a turnout that comprised about 24% of eligible voters. Since then, Pelosi has enjoyed overwhelming support in her political career, collecting 76 and 77 percent of the vote in California's 5th congressional district for the 1988 and 1990 Race for U.S. House of Representatives. In 1992, after the redistricting from the 1990 Census, Pelosi ran in California's 8th congressional district, which now covered the San Francisco area. She has continued to post impressive results since, dropping beneath 80 percent of the vote only twice.

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No Child Left Behind Act

President Bush signing the No Child Left Behind Act at Hamilton H.S. in Hamilton, Ohio.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-110), often abbreviated in print as NCLB and sometimes shortened in pronunciation to "nicklebee", is a United States federal law (Act of Congress) that was originally proposed by President George W. Bush on January 23, 2001, immediately after taking office. Congress based its legislation on this "blueprint" proposed by the President. The legislation was coauthored by Representatives John Boehner (R-OH) and George Miller (D-CA) and Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and signed by President Bush. The law reauthorized a number of federal programs aiming to improve the performance of U.S. primary and secondary schools by increasing the standards of accountability for states, school districts, and schools, as well as providing parents more flexibility in choosing which schools their children will attend. Additionally, it promoted an increased focus on reading and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The Act, introduced as HR 1 during the 107th Congress, was passed in the House of Representatives on May 23, 2001, United States Senate on June 14, 2001 and signed into law on January 8, 2002.

NCLB is the latest federal legislation (another was Goals 2000) which enacts the theories of standards-based education reform, formerly known as outcome-based education, which is based on the belief that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education. The Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools. NCLB does not assert a national achievement standard; standards are set by each individual state, in line with the principle of local control of schools.

The Act also requires that the schools distribute the name, home phone number and address of every student enrolled to military recruiters and institutions of higher education, unless the student (or the student's parent) specifically opts out.

The desirability of NCLB's measures are hotly debated. It is very difficult to assess the effectiveness of the act per se, because it applied to all states making it difficult to infer what would have happened without the act. However, analyses of the state accountability systems that were in place before NCLB indicate that accountability for outcomes led to faster growth in achievement for the states that introduced such systems. The direct analysis of state test scores before and after enactment of NCLB also supports its positive impact. A primary criticism asserts that NCLB could reduce effective instruction and student learning because it may cause states to lower achievement goals and motivate teachers to "teach to the test." A primary supportive claim asserts that systematic testing provides data that shed light on which schools are not teaching basic skills effectively, so that interventions can be made to improve outcomes for all students while reducing the achievement gap for disadvantaged and disabled students.

Over the time of this law, Congress increased federal funding of education, from $42.2 billion in 2001 to $54.4 billion in 2007. No Child Left Behind received a 40.4% increase from $17.4 billion in 2001 to $24.4 billion. The funding for reading quadrupled from $286 million in 2001 to $1.2 billion. A 2008 study from the Department of Education, “Reading First Impact Study: Interim Report,” analyzes the performance of students in 12 states who were in grades one to three during the 2004-5 and 2005-6 school years and concluded that the Reading First Program, a major billion dollar a year NCLB effort, had proven "ineffective." A final report on the impacts from 2004-2007 (three school years with Reading First funding) and on the relationships between changes in instructional practice and student reading comprehension is expected in late 2008.

No Child Left Behind requires all public schools to administer a state-wide standardized test annually to all students. Schools which receive Title I funding must make Adequate Yearly Progress in test scores (e.g. each year, its fifth graders must do better on standardized tests than the previous years).

If a Title I school fails to make Adequate Yearly Progress, then it is put on a list of "failing schools" published in the local paper and parents are given the option to transfer to another school. If it does not meet AYP for a second year, then it must provide special tutoring for its economically disadvantaged students.

The academic achievement of minority students has increased under NCLB.This is reflected on the California Standards Test (CST). More of these students are also enrolled in higher level of math courses than before the law was passed.

Critics argue that these statistics are misleading. They compare 2005 with 2000, when No Child Left Behind didn't even take effect until 2003. They point out that the increase in scores between 2000 and 2003 was roughly the same as the increase between 2003 and 2005, which calls into question how any increase can be attributed to No Child Left Behind. They also argue that some of the subgroups are cherry-picked -- that in other subgroups scores remained the same or actually fell.

Many argue that local government had failed students, necessitating federal intervention to remedy issues like teachers teaching outside their areas of expertise, and complacency in the face of continually failing schools. Some local governments, notably New York State, have voiced support for NCLB provisions, because local standards had failed to provide adequate oversight over special education, and that NCLB would allow longitudinal data to be more effectively used to monitor Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). States all over the United States have shown improvements in their progress as a result of NCLB. For example, Wisconsin ranks first of all fifty states, and the District of Columbia at ninety-eight percent of its schools, achieving the No Child Left Behind Standards.

Supporters of NCLB claim the legislation encourages accountability in public schools, offers parents greater educational options for their children, and helps close the achievement gap between minority and white students. NCLB aims to show achievement toward these goals through federally mandated standardized testing.

As part of their support for NCLB, the administration and congress backed massive increases in funding for elementary and secondary education funding. Title I funding to districts for disadvantaged children increased from $42.2 billion to $55.7 billion from 2001, the fiscal year before the law's passage, to fiscal year 2004. A new $1 billion Reading First program was created, distributing funds to local schools to improve the teaching of reading, and over $100 million for its companion, Early Reading First. Numerous other formula programs received large increases as well. This was consistent with the administration's position of funding formula programs, which distribute money to local schools for their use, and grant programs, where particularl schools or groups apply directly to the federal government for funding. In total, federal funding for education increased 59.8% from 2000 to 2003.

Funding for school technology used in classrooms as part of NCLB, is administered by the Enhancing Education Through Technology Program (EETT). Funding sources are used for equipment, professional development and training for educators, and updated research. EETT allocates funds by formula to states. The states in turn reallocate 50% of the funds to local districts by Title I formula and 50% competitively. While districts must reserve a minimum of 25% of all EETT funds for professional development, recent studies indicate that most EETT recipients use far more than 25% of their EETT funds to train teachers to use technology and integrate it into their curricula. In fact, EETT recipients committed more than $159 million in EETT funds towards professional development during the 2004-05 school year alone. Moreover, even though EETT recipients are afforded broad discretion in their use of EETT funds, surveys show that they target EETT dollars towards improving student achievement in reading and math, engaging in data driven decision making, and launching online assessment programs.

In addition, the provisions of NCLB permitted increased flexibility for state and local agencies in the use of federal education money.

The NCLB increases were companions to another massive increase in federal education funding at that time. The Bush administration and congress passed very large increases in funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at the same time as the NCLB increases. IDEA Part B, a state formula-funding program that distributes money to local districts for the education of students with disabilities, was increased from $6.3 billion in 2001 to $10.1 billion in 2004. Because a district's and state's performance on NCLB measures depended on improved performance by students with disabilities, particularly students with learning disabilities, this 60 percent increase in funding was also an important part of the overall approach to NCLB implementation.

The system of incentives and penalties sets up a strong motivation for schools, districts, and states to manipulate test results. For example, schools have been shown to employ "creative reclassification" of drop-outs (to reduce unfavorable statistics).

Critics argue that these and other strategies create an inflated perception of NCLB's successes, particularly in states with high minority populations.

The incentives for an improvement also may cause states to lower their official standards. Because each state can produce its own standardized tests, a state can make its statewide tests easier to increase scores. Missouri, for example, improved testing scores but openly admitted that they lowered the standards. A 2007 study by the U.S. Dept. of Education indicates that the observed differences in states' reported scores is largely due to differences in the stringency of their standards.

Moreover, many teachers who practice "teaching to the test" actually misinterpret the educational outcomes the tests are designed to measure. On two state tests (New York State and Michigan) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) almost two-thirds of eighth graders missed math word problems that required an application of the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the distance between two points. Wiggins and McTighe blamed the low success rate on teachers who correctly anticipated the content of the tests, but incorrectly assumed each test would present rote knowledge/skill items rather than well-constructed, higher-order items.

The practice of giving all students the same test, under the same conditions, has been accused of inherent cultural bias because different cultures may value different skills. It also may conflict with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which states that schools must accommodate disabled students. For example, it is normally acceptable for visually impaired students to be read test material aloud. However, on a NCLB-mandated test, a group of blind students had their scores invalidated (reported as zeros) because the testing protocol did not specifically allow for test readers to speak.

The practice of determining educational quality by testing students has been called into question.

Because the law's response if the school fails to make adequate progress is not only to provide additional help for students, but also to impose punitive measures on the school, the incentives are to set expectations lower rather than higher and to increase segregation by class and race and push low-performing students out of school altogether.

Some local schools are only funding instruction for core subjects or for remedial special education. In other words, NCLB forces school programs to ration education in such a manner as to only guarantee mandated skill levels in reading, writing, and arithmetic to all students. All other programs not essential to providing mandated skills to regular students or remedial special education students are being gutted by those districts. While Federal law is silent on the requirement for funding gifted programs, the practice can violate the mandates of several states (such as Arizona, California, Virginia, and Pennsylvania) to identify gifted students and provide them with an appropriate education, including grade advancement.

All students who are learning English have an automatic three-year window to take assessments in their native language, after which they must normally demonstrate proficiency on an English language assessment. However, the local education authority may grant an exception to any individual English learner for another two years' testing in his or her native language on a case-by-case basis. In practice, however, only 10 states choose to test any English language learners in their native language (almost entirely Spanish speakers). The vast majority of English language learners are given English language assessments.

NCLB's focus on math and English language skills (and eventually science) may elevate scores on two fundamental skills while students lose the benefits of a broad education.

A study conducted by the American Heart Association and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education contends that diminishing physical education in school has contributed to rising levels of childhood obesity.

Surveys of public school principals indicate that since the implementation of NCLB, 71% believe instructional time has increased for reading, writing, and math (subjects tested under the law), and decreased for the arts, elementary social studies, and foreign languages.

In some places, the implementation of NCLB during a time of budget restraints has been blamed for the elimination of classes and activities which are outside of NCLB's focus area. "It hurts me to give up art, but it hurts me even more to have kids who can't read," said school Principal Kathy Deck in Indianapolis, Indiana. These restraints may have affected humanities and social studies curricula as well. Common Core, a group that encourages a broad inclusive curriculum, recently found that many American high school students lack basic knowledge in history, civics, and literature. The group blamed NCLB for not including these topics in its focus.

Some school districts object to the limitation created by the "scientifically based research standard." Research based on case studies, anecdotes, personal experience, or other forms of qualitative research are generally excluded from this category. Furthermore, the inability to employ random assignment for important educational predictors such as race and socio-economic status may exclude a large amount of quasi-experimental work that could contribute to educational knowledge.

Some conservative or libertarian critics have argued that NCLB sets a new standard for federalizing education and setting a precedent for further erosion of state and local control. Libertarians and some conservatives further argue that the federal government has no constitutional authority in education, which is why participation in NCLB is technically optional: States need not comply with NCLB, as long as they are willing to forgo the federal funding that comes with it.

NCLB (In section 9528) requires public secondary schools to provide military recruiters the same access to facilities as a school provides to higher education institution recruiters. Schools are also required to provide contact information for every student to the military if requested. Students or parents can opt out of having their information shared, and educational institutions receiving funding under the act are required to inform parents that they have this option. Currently, many school districts have a generic opt out form which, if filled out and turned in, withholds students' information from college and job recruiters as well as the military.

The Act is promoted as requiring 100% of students (including disadvantaged and special education students) within a school to reach the same state standards in reading and mathematics by 2014. Critics charge that a 100% goal is unattainable. Critics of the NCLB requirement for "one high, challenging standard" claim that some students are simply unable to perform at the level for their age, no matter how good the teacher is. While statewide standards reduce the educational inequality between privileged and underprivileged districts in a state, they still impose a "one size fits all" standard on individual students. Particularly in states with high standards, schools can be punished for not being able to dramatically raise the achievement of students that have below-average capabilities.

In fact, the "all" in NCLB means only 95% of students, because states must report the assessment scores of 95% of students when calculating Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) scores. A specific exemption is given to students with intellectual disabilities or learning disabilities, and students with severe academic disabilities are not assessed. Students that have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and that are assessed must receive the accommodations specified in the IEP during assessment; if these accommodations do not change the nature of the assessment, then these students scores are counted the same as any other student's score. Common acceptable changes include extended test time, testing in a quieter room, translation of math problems into the student's native language, or allowing a student to type answers instead of writing them by hand.

If the accommodations change the nature of the assessment, then it is considered an alternative assessment. In addition to not requiring 5% of students to be assessed at all, regulations allow schools to use alternate assessments to declare up to 1% of all students proficient for the purposes of the Act. States are given broad discretion in selecting alternate assessments. For example, a school may accept an Advanced Placement test for English in lieu of the English test written by the state, and simplified tests for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

An additional exemption is given to all students with limited English proficiency, who do not participate in NCLB testing until they have attended American schools for three consecutive years (although their progress is assessed for other purposes). In certain schools with large immigrant populations, this exemption comprises a majority of young students.

Organizations that support NCLB assessement of disabled or LEP students say that inclusion ensures that deficiencies in the education of these disadvantaged students are identified and addressed. Opponents say that testing students with disabilities violates the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by making students with disabilities learn the same material as non-disabled students .

Organizations have particularly criticized the unwillingness of the federal government to "fully fund" the act. Noting that appropriations bills always originate in the House of Representatives, it is true that neither the Senate nor the White House has even requested federal funding up to the authorized levels for several of the act’s main provisions. For example, President Bush requested only $13.3 of a possible $22.75 billion in 2006. Advocacy groups note that President Bush's 2008 budget proposal alloted $61 billion for the Education Department, cutting funding by $1.3 billion from last year. 44 out of 50 states would receive reductions in federal funding if the budget passes as is. Specifically, funding for the Enhancing Education Through Technology Program (EETT) has continued to drop while the demand for technology in schools has increased (Technology and Learning, 2006). However, these claims focused on reallocated funds, as each of President Bush's proposed budgets increased funding for major NCLB formula programs such as Title I, including his final 2009 budget proposal.

Members of Congress have viewed these authorized levels as spending caps, not spending promises. Some opponents argue that these funding shortfalls mean that schools faced with the system of escalating penalties for failing to meet testing targets are denied the resources necessary to remedy problems detected by testing. However, federal NCLB formula funding increased by billions during this period and state and local funding increased by over $100 billion from school year 2001-02 through 2006-07.

According to the book, NCLB Meets School Realities, the act was put into action during a time of fiscal crisis for most states. While states were being forced to make massive budget cuts, including in the area of education, they had to incur huge expenses to comply with the requirements of the NCLB Act. The funding they received from the federal government in support of NCLB was not enough to cover the added expense necessary to adhere to the new law.

The Joint Organizational Statement on No Child Left Behind is a proposal by more than 135 national civil rights, education, disability advocacy, civic, labor and religious groups that have signed on to a statement calling for major changes to the federal education law. The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) initiated and chaired the meetings that produced the statement, originally released in October 2004. The statement's central message is that "the law's emphasis needs to shift from applying sanctions for failing to raise test scores to holding states and localities accountable for making the systemic changes that improve student achievement." The number of organizations signing the statement has nearly quadrupled since it was launched in late 2004 and continues to grow. The goal is to influence Congress, and the broader public, as the law's scheduled reauthorization approaches.

Education critic Alfie Kohn argues that the NCLB law is "unredeemable" and should be scrapped. He is quoted saying "ts main effect has been to sentence poor children to an endless regimen of test-preparation drills".

In February 2007, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes, Co-Chairs of the Aspen Commission on No Child Left Behind, announced the release of the Commission's final recommendations for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. The Commission is an independent, bipartisan effort to improve NCLB and ensure it is a more useful force in closing the achievement gap that separates disadvantaged children and their peers. After a year of hearings, analysis and research, the Commission uncovered the successes of NCLB, as well as provisions which need to be changed or significantly modified.

The Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA), a working group of signers of the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB has offered an alternative proposal. It proposes to shift NCLB from applying sanctions for failing to raise test scores to supporting state and communities and holding them accountable as they make systemic changes that improve student learning.

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Source : Wikipedia