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On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

Farewell then, Michele Bachmann, the extreme right-wing candidate for US president who withdrew from the race to win the Republican nomination last week. And farewell, too, to your Tea Party-inspired policy of abolishing the federal Department of Education. Neither you nor your policy will be missed.

It's also nearly time to bid adieu to Rick Perry, whose dreams of winning the nomination are fading fast, and his policy to do away with the same department. And in a month or two, we will probably wave goodbye to another right-wing candidate, Ron Paul, and his policy of ditching, you guessed it, the federal department in charge of schools.

Hopefully, when they have exited the race for leader of the free world, these three will have the decency to spend a little time on the Naughty Step. They might want to give a moment's thought to their absurd proposals and wonder what would have happened to the billions of dollars in aid, support and intervention delivered by the Department of Education.

They might also want to exercise their grey matter by thinking about what would have happened to schools in places such as Alabama, where federal aid and intervention are the only things standing in the way of educational outcomes that wouldn't be out of place in sub-Saharan Africa.

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