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This article is part of a new Education Next series on the state of the American family. The full series will appear in our Spring 2015 issue to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 release of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” (generally referred to as the Moynihan Report).

In its Spring issue, Education Next takes note of the 50th anniversary of a 1965 publication issued by the U. S. Department of Labor entitled “The Negro Family.” The report, assembled under the direction of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, made the case that civil rights legislation needed to be only the first step toward emancipation of black Americans from the legacies of the past. The next step should address the fact that approximately 25 percent of black children were being raised in single-parent families.

The controversial education law known as No Child Left Behind is up for reauthorization, and amid the nuances under debate one question stands out: Will pressures from the left and right force the federal government to abandon its annual, statewide testing requirements?

When enacted into law in 2002, NCLB had widespread, bipartisan backing including support from President George W. Bush and Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy . Nonetheless, it had numerous creaky provisions, not least of which were the testing provisions that held schools accountable for student achievement.

As we celebrate the anniversary of Martin Luther King's birth, we should ask why so many of the problems against which he struggled — segregation, poverty, persistent racial gaps in education and income — remain so much a part of American life.

Few remember that Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned of this possibility. His report “The Negro Family: A Case for National Action,” released 50 years ago, lamented the rising tide of single parenthood in the black community.

Money for schools has again become a campaign issue. In the Florida governor's race, Charlie Crist says that the "first thing [Gov. Rick Scott ] does when he comes in . . . is cut education by $1.3 billion." To which Gov. Scott replies, "The $18 billion in funding for K-12 education funding is the highest in Florida history and includes a record $10.6 billion in state funds." Pennsylvania's Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Tom Wolf accuses Republican Gov. Tom Corbett of cutting the state's school budget by $1 billion, to which Gov. Corbett replies that spending has actually risen.

As your editor made clear in this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast and as this publication consistently points out, there are no corners of American public education that are cordons solitaire from the education crisis.

There are two big problems with the hysteria from right-wing critics and teachers’ unions over Common Core: lack of easily available alternatives with comparable rigor to Common Core standards, and timing. In more than 40 states, Common Core is already happening, although the implementation issues are not trivial.

Almost exactly one year ago to the day, I brought your attention to a report from America Achieves that showed our nation’s lackluster K-12 education results are by no means just a matter of poverty.