Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rose-Colored Glasses

You know what the problem with columns like this is?  It's the fantasy that the pre-NCLB days were filled with wine and roses, and that's just ridiculous.  The reason NCLB was instituted in the first place was because there was (and still is) wide consensus that our high school graduates weren't up to snuff.  That may or may not have changed, but blaming NCLB is blaming the symptom, not the disease.


Anonymous said...

I think the one good thing NCLB accomplished was to require breaking out scores by various groups. In the past, whole-school averages were used and could mask large differences between groups. This practice, in the county where my kids were primarily raised, led to the creation of magnet schools to increase school average scores. Located in low-SES areas with large minority populations, they were (and undoubtedly still are), two schools under one roof with little interaction between them. The magnet kids are primarily white and Asian and they even tend to choose different extracurriculars, according to a friend of my sons' who attended one. At least, NCLB did expose woeful academic performance for various subgroubs. However, the problem was, and is, deeply rooted in the "family" and community. Improving school safety, discipline, curriculum and instruction are highly desirable but aren't likely to eradicate the "achievement gap" in the absence of changes in community priorities.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I'd say what NCLB accomplished was to validate the concept of explicit and measurable accountability.

Previous to NCLB the tacit assumption was that poor performance of the schools wold be dealt with via the democratic process. Well that obviously didn't turn out very well but as a result of that assumption a whole institution grew up with, effectively, no concept of accountability. NCLB changed that and, it's beginning to look, irrevocably.

Obviously, if you're interested in kids getting a good education accountability is key. No accountability? No reason to think things won't go down hill.

If, however, you enjoy the job environment in which there aren't any expectations of acceptable levels of professional performance then NCLB is a bad thing.