[snip] “It is honorable to defend a Social Security status quo that works, but it is something else to defend an education status quo that does not,” writes Robert Gordon in the New Republic, urging Democrats to stick with their ideals, as embodied in the No Child Left Behind law. “When Democrats become champions of states’ rights in schools, it is no wonder voters think the party has no principles. The federal government has served progressive educational ends for decades,” and NCLB follows that line. “The law requires a form of affirmative action: States must show that minority and poor students are achieving proficiency like everyone else, or else provide remedies targeted to the schools those students attend.”