Naming: An Important Part of Education Policy

By Leena Mehta

March 9, 2011

While education policy has been a heated topic for the last decade, I wanted to look at recent government programs from a naming perspective.
During the Bush administration, the significant education move was the No Child Left Behind Act. After a while, people abbreviated the act to NCLB or “nicklebee.” By the time Obama came into office, nicklebee had a lot of baggage due to its reputation as a punitive law for schools rather than one that rewards progress. So, Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed to restructure and rename the program. This actually sprouted a crowd-sourcing contest for name alternatives, including:

  • The Act to Help Children Read Gooder
  • No Child’s Behind Left
  • Double Back Around to Pick Up the Children We Left Behind Act
  • The Teach to the Test Act
  • The One Size Fits Every Behind Act

And some serious ones:

  • Successful Schools for a Strong America Act
  • Advancing Thinking in School Act
  • Opportunities for Academic Excellence Act
  • The Successful Schools, Successful Children Act

Although the act was ultimately renamed “The Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” we at Catchword came up with a few of our own ideas:

  • Nicklebee Got Us Into a Picklebee Act
  • The We Teach Failures Act (WTF)
  • Uniform Thinking for Uniformed Kids Act
  • We Manufacture Test-Taking Robots Act
  • Beat the Creativity Out of Our Children Act
  • The “Race to Nowhere” Act (which happens to be our name for the educational documentary “Race to Nowhere”)

What are some of the NCLB nicknames you’ve seen used?

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