"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Monday, January 16, 2012

10 Years of NCLB -- Part 3

(Click here for 10 years of NCLB -- Part 1)
(Click here for 10 years of NCLB -- Part 2)

Ten years ago No Child Left Behind was signed into law.

Fairtest has a report. Here's the news release:
NCLB’s Lost Decade Report

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND 10TH ANNIVERSARY REPORT -- MISGUIDED POLICY CREATED “LOST DECADE” FOR SCHOOL PROGRESS; TEST-AND-PUNISH STRATEGY UNDERMINES REAL REFORMS

The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law “failed badly both in terms of its own goals and more broadly,” leading to a decade of educational stagnation. That is the central conclusion of a major new report marking NCLB’s tenth anniversary. President George W. Bush signed the program into law on January 8, 2002.

The report, “NCLB’s Lost Decade for Educational Progress,” summarizes data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and dozens of independent studies. It was written by staff of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest).

Among the report’s major findings:
  • NCLB failed to significantly increase average academic performance or to significantly narrow achievement gaps, as measured by NAEP. U.S. students made greater gains before NCLB became law than after it was implemented.
  • NCLB severely damaged educational quality and equity by narrowing the curriculum in many schools and focusing attention on the limited skills standardized tests measure. These negative effects fell most heavily on classrooms serving low-income and minority children.
  • So-called "reforms" to NCLB fail to address many of the law’s fundamental problems and, in some cases, may intensify them. Flawed proposals include Obama Administration waivers and the Senate Education Committee’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill
“NCLB undermined many promising reform efforts because of its reliance on one-size-fits-all testing, labeling and sanctioning schools,” explained FairTest’s Lisa Guisbond, the new report’s lead author. “A decade’s worth of solid evidence documents the failure of NCLB and similar high-stakes testing schemes. Successful programs in the U.S. and other nations demonstrate better ways to improve schools. Yet, policymakers still cling to the discredited NCLB model.”

“It’s not too late to learn the lessons of the past ten years. Now is the time to craft a federal law that supports equity and progress in all public schools,” added FairTest Executive Director, Dr. Monty Neill. The Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA), which FairTest leads, is promoting a comprehensive plan to overhaul NCLB. The proposal calls for using multiple measures to assess student and school performance. It also targets resources to improve teaching and learning. More than 150 national education, civil rights, disability, religious, labor and civic groups signed the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB, which FEA seeks to implement.

- the NCLB 10th Anniversary report is posted at http://fairtest.org/NCLB-lost-decade-report-home
- Forum on Educational Accountability recommendations and the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB are available at http://www.edaccountability.org
Others are adding their voice, too.
Ravitch: No Child Left Behind and the damage done

After 10 years of NCLB, we should have seen dramatic progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, but we have not. By now, we should be able to point to sharp reductions of the achievement gaps between children of different racial and ethnic groups and children from different income groups, but we cannot. As I said in a recent speech, many children continue to be left behind, and we know who those children are: They are the same children who were left behind 10 years ago...It is time to abandon the status quo of test-based accountability and seek fresh and innovative thinking to support and strengthen our nation's schools.
10 years of NCLB means it’s time to Occupy the DOE

...I need to ask the community some questions. Parents. Why do you put up with this? Have you thought about opting out? Teachers. I know you know better. Why do you spend hours prepping for invalid tests? This is not really teaching (or why you became a teacher). Principals. Where is your leadership? Your teachers need you to call the kettle black. Superintendents. Why do you continue to do black flips in a system that, in the end, will dissolve any need for your type of educational expertise? School Boards. Why the silence as your community schools are being dismantled and property values decrease each year in direct correlation to NCLB scores?
A search for "10 Years of No Child Left Behind" will yield others. But the important point is that this law has more than failed. It has provided for the dismantling of public education around the nation. Communities around the country are losing their schools. Control is being transferred to charters and private schools. School boards, who answer to the public ballot box, are yielding control because of the requirements of No Child Left Behind.

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You might also be interested in...

Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System
Teachers, under assault from every direction, are fleeing the profession. Even before the “reform” blitzkrieg we were losing half of all teachers within five years after they started work—and these were people who spent years in school and many thousands of dollars to become teachers. How does the country expect to retain dignified, trained professionals under the hostility of current conditions? I suspect that the hedge fund managers behind our charter schools system—whose primary concern is certainly not with education—are delighted to replace real teachers with nonunionized, poorly trained instructors...

“I cannot say for certain—not with the certainty of a Bill Gates or a Mike Bloomberg who pontificate with utter certainty over a field in which they know absolutely nothing—but more and more I suspect that a major goal of the reform campaign is to make the work of a teacher so degrading and insulting that the dignified and the truly educated teachers will simply leave while they still retain a modicum of self-respect,” he added. “In less than a decade we been stripped of autonomy and are increasingly micromanaged. Students have been given the power to fire us by failing their tests. Teachers have been likened to pigs at a trough and blamed for the economic collapse of the United States. In New York, principals have been given every incentive, both financial and in terms of control, to replace experienced teachers with 22-year-old untenured rookies. They cost less. They know nothing. They are malleable and they are vulnerable to termination.”

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