Saturday, February 11, 2012

So You Didn't Like No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

Yes, Ted Kennedy's NCLB law (voted for by this list of luminaries in the Senate) had some flaws, but claiming it harmed students is wrong. How does it harm students to have a standard that they be able to read and calculate, and to determine if they're actually making progress towards those goals? This president has figured out how:
President Barack Obama on Thursday will free 10 states from the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, giving leeway to states that promise to improve how they prepare and evaluate students, The Associated Press has learned...

A total of 28 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signaled that they, too, plan to seek waivers — a sign of just how vast the law's burdens have become as a big deadline nears...

No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Obama's action strips away that fundamental requirement for those approved for flexibility, provided they offer a viable plan instead. Under the deal, the states must show they will prepare children for college and careers, set new targets for improving achievement among all students, develop meaningful teacher and principal evaluation systems, reward the best performing schools and focus help on the ones doing the worst.

In September, Obama called President George W. Bush's most hyped domestic accomplishment an admirable but flawed effort that hurt students instead of helping them (boldface mine--Darren)...
What will really hurt students is forcing states to accept Obama's favored Common Core Standards, which aren't as rigorous as the state standards in many states, and then not really making an effort to see if students are meeting even those lesser goals. But hey, maybe the kids will have better self-esteem?

Here's a post I wrote on the topic last summer. Here's one from two years ago. Both identify good parts of the law--determined by the not-quite-right-leaning New York Times and Los Angeles Times--parts that will be thrown out along with the baby and and the bath water. As I scroll through my 90+ NCLB posts, I see many wherein I link to stories about how the law is having a positive impact. Yes, there are parts I'd tinker with, but wholesale rewriting (a la RttT) is the wrong course of action.

Are our schools doing better 3 years into an Obama presidency? After all, that's what we were promised in the union rags--I know, I quoted them on this blog! Here's one of them, which ends with this Cassandra-like statement: "I don't see a Golden Age of Public Education occurring under the next president, despite the choirs of angels at California Educator."

Amen.

1 comment:

Jeremy Roe said...

I definitely understand your concern regarding the Common Core. However, for Tennessee the Common Core is far more rigorous than were the old curricula standards. Tennessee's NCLB waiver has increased the rigor of the content while setting more realistic goals for increased student performance.