Va-t-on vers une révision de la loi de 2002 ? On peut se mettre d'accord sur une loi à partir de prémisses différentes, rappelle Jon Elster, dans le cours qu'il donne actuellement au Collège de France sur les décisions collectives (les accords ainsi obtenus sont "incomplètement théorisés"). "Some Democrats are wary of Obama's efforts to weed out bad teachers and financially reward good ones. Some Republicans are so skeptical of the federal role in education that they want to abolish the Education Department."

"Under No Child Left Behind, all schools are required to make progress toward a goal of 100 percent proficiency in 2014 for students tested in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. The law requires progress not only overall but also among groups of students sorted by race, ethnicity and factors such as whether they are learning English as a second language or have disabilities."

Mais l'application de cette loi pose problème*. "Last year, the Montgomery County school failed to make what the government calls "adequate yearly progress," even though 91 percent of its students passed the state math test and 96 percent passed in reading. The school fell short for the first time because a handful of students with disabilities missed the target in math. Confusion over the ratings of schools such as this one and thousands of others nationwide is fueling President Obama's drive to rewrite the nine-year-old No Child Left Behind law. In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Obama called for a version that is "more flexible and focused on what's best for our kids.""

D'autres questions mériteraient d'être à nouveau débattues. "To propose revisions to the education law would open a wide-ranging debate on school funding (most states face painful budget cuts), vouchers for private schools, performance pay, national standards, special education, bilingual education and school safety, among other matters."

Sources : "Obama aims to revise No Child Left Behind", Nick Anderson, The Washington Post, 11/01/11 ; "Obama seeks to make No Child Left Behind more flexible", Nick Anderson, The Washington Post, 26/01/11 ; "Schools prepare for national standards", Nick Anderson, The Washington Post, 10/01/11 ("The standards, spelling out what should be learned in English and math every year from kindergarten through high school, are meant to replace what has been a jumble of benchmarks that vary from state to state in content and depth.") ; "Study undercuts teacher bonuses", Nick Anderson, The Washington Post, 22/09/10 ("Offering teachers incentives of up to $15,000 to improve student test scores produced no discernible difference in academic performance, according to a study released Tuesday, a result likely to reshape the debate about merit pay programs sprouting in D.C. schools and many others nationwide").

* Les résultats sont contestés quels qu'ils soient, ainsi que le souligne Esther Duflo dans son ouvrage Le développement humain (Seuil, 2010) : "Les évaluations du programme "No child left behind" ne sont pas très encourageantes : elles dévoilent que les enseignants manipulent les résultats aux tests standardisés en sélectionnant les enfants qui peuvent les passer (les autres sont envoyés dans des classes pour enfants en difficulté), en concentrant entièrement leur enseignement sur le bachotage, voire en trichant au profit de leurs élèves." (p. 52)