Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Deconstructing NCLB

The New York Times reports [Obama Seeking Sweeping Change in 'No Child' Law by Sam Dillon] that the Obama administration is revising No Child Left Behind (NCLB). I suspect such changes are more the result of reality finally catching up with the mean spirited political fantasies that NCLB marketed to an all too gullible public.

"The secretary of education, Arne Duncan, foreshadowed the elimination of the 2014 deadline in a September speech, referring to it as a “utopian goal,” and administration officials have since made clear that they want the deadline eliminated. In recent meetings with representatives of education groups, Department of Education officials have said they also want to eliminate the school ratings system built on making “adequate yearly progress” on student test scores.

“They were very clear with us that they would change the metric, dropping adequate yearly progress and basing a new system on another picture of performance based on judging schools in a more nuanced way,” said Bruce Hunter, director of public policy for the American Association of School Administrators, who attended one of the meetings.

The current system issues the equivalent of a pass-fail report card for every school each year, an evaluation that administration officials say fails to differentiate among chaotic schools in chronic failure, schools that are helping low-scoring students improve and high-performing suburban schools that nonetheless appear to be neglecting some low-scoring students.

Instead, under the administration’s proposals, a new accountability system would divide schools into more categories, offering recognition to those that are succeeding and providing large new amounts of money to help improve or close failing schools.

A new goal, which would replace the 2014 universal proficiency deadline, would be for all students to leave high school “college or career ready.” Currently more than 40 states are collaborating, in an effort coordinated by the National Governors Association and encouraged by the administration, to write common standards defining what it means to be a graduate from high school ready for college or a career."

Imagine a plan from the Bush administration being labeled 'utopian'. No, expecting every school to qualify as non-failing in a rigged system is not utopian - it is blissfully and maliciously devoid of reason.

And the secondary goal of NCLB that we magically close the education gap is equally insane yet remains intact in Arne Duncan's Big Adventure called Race to the Top.

Children will continue to be mis-educated in America because it is politically profitable to do so. Obama and Duncan are no less dependent on the public's gullibility than Bush was.

Like Bush, Obama and Duncan's social engineering experiments are the usual American lab rats, the poor. Unfortunately, NCLB and its succeeding educational cancer, Race to the Top are beginning to deform all American schools and that is not a good thing.

By myopically treating the symptoms of urban poverty as if all American schools were the disease, we are overdosing on standardized tests, memorization, and militaristic behaviors of conformity. Our children can barely breathe without special services and they certainly are not allowed to play, think, or mature without first asking permissions.

Urban school reform enthusiasts who profit from the deception that schools can fail are the buffoons that Washington embraces to dictate school 'reform' policies. It will not end well.

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