A story that suggests the mess the President’s school initiative has left behind: Should Utah opt out of school reform?. No Child Left Behind requires states that accept Federal money to bring all students up to grade level in reading and math by 2013-14, and in the meantime show annual improvements on standardized tests. The goal is silly, and the money is raised within the states in any event. Only the federal control and financial coercion are real, and it’s not clear what public function they serve. Does the federal government have some special competence or commitment to education that people on the scene lack?