The results are in and the nation’s children have higher scores in reading and math since President Bush’s No Child Left Behind was made law five years. The law requires all public school students be tested in reading and math every year from grades 3-8 and once in high school. A series of sanctions are placed on schools that don’t meet adequate progress according to NCLB.
This million-dollar study by the Center for Education Policy, entitled “Answering the question that matters most:Has student achievement increased since No Child Left Behind?” spent 18 months collecting data from the states. Among the public schools that did not cooperate with the study were the schools of Washington, D.C.
There’s dispute as to whether the scores really have gone up, or whether success can be attributed to this law.
No Child Left Behind is a curiosity. An inadequately funded mandate imposed by the federal government by a supposedly conservative, small government president. One would think some eternally tinkering liberal democrat was behind it.
Alright, the scores have gone up. So what? If I stopped eating my weight loss would improve, but it wouldn’t be a healthy loss. If you reduce the scope of a curriculum, teach to a body of tests, reduce the whole of a child’s life to the passage of these tests, and focus an incredible volume of resources, rewards, and punishments in support of these tests, of course test results will go up. But do higher scores mean higher knowledge? Are their brains implanted with more worth knowing?
As clearly as NCLB’s faults are known, either by analysis or by plain horse-sense, it still has a chance to continue living on beyond the term of this president. It needs to go away when he goes away. It has the family-friendly title. It has the appearance of good intentions. But its all smoke and mirrors. It’s all an illusion.
NCLB has directly or indirectly led to the reduction of the arts, the social sciences, the physical sciences, of recess and physical education, all in the name of schools needing higher test scores. Over the years a number of states have joined together to fight NCLB in the courts, only to be beaten down. This is our best chance to drive a stake in the heart of the vampire and close the door on the coffin. Put this money-draining, fear-creating entity to rest, and restore some measure of local control to our school systems. Let’s get rid of this one-size-fits-all, homogenizing, anti-thought, anti-creativity, virus in education. This won’t by any means cure the many woes afflicting our public schools, but it will remove one brick from the pile.
Please ask our Congressional representatives to reject renewal of No Child Left Behind. ere