wasting bandwidth since 1999

Beyond Repair

The story leads with the statement “Nearly two-thirds of American adults want Congress to re-write or outright abolish the landmark No Child Left Behind Act…”.

The details much farther down reveals that only 14% of us want the law to go altogether while 49% want it revised. Not quite the same thing, is it?

However, public opinion aside, our Congress critters are the folks who must decide whether this law deserves to be renewed.

Alfie Kohn, for one, loudly declares that NCLB is lousy educational policy and never should have been passed in the first place

It’s a stretch even to call the law “well-intentioned” given that its creators, including the Bush administration and the right-wing Heritage Foundation, want to privatize public education. Hence NCLB’s merciless testing, absurd timetables and reliance on threats.

Let’s be clear: This law has nothing to do with improving learning. At best, it’s about raising scores on multiple-choice exams. This law is not about discovering which schools need help; we already know. This law is not about narrowing the achievement gap; its main effect has been to sentence poor children to an endless regimen of test-preparation drills. Thus, even if the scores do rise, it’s at the expense of a quality education. Affluent schools are better able to maintain good teaching – and retain good teachers – despite NCLB, so the gap widens.

This law cannot be fixed by sanding its rough edges. It must be replaced with a policy that honors local autonomy, employs better assessments, addresses the root causes of inequity and supports a rich curriculum. The question isn’t how to save NCLB; it’s how to save our schools – and kids – from NCLB.


nclb, renewal, alfie kohn

1 Comment

  1. elementaryhistoryteacher

    Hear ! Hear!

    Mr. Kohn and I are very far apart on the homework issue, however, he’s dead-on with his take on NCLB.

    I don’t mind accountability, but…..

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