Anyone involved with education is well aware of the many negative ways that No Child Left Behind is affecting American education.
But the worst of these consequences (possibly unintended) is the way the all-testing-all-the-time mentality is narrowing the curriculum students are studying to just two subjects, reading and math.
Thousands of schools across the nation are responding to the reading and math testing requirements laid out in No Child Left Behind, President Bush’s signature education law, by reducing class time spent on other subjects and, for some low-proficiency students, eliminating it.
Schools from Vermont to California are increasing – in some cases tripling – the class time that low-proficiency students spend on reading and math, mainly because the federal law, signed in 2002, requires annual exams only in those subjects and punishes schools that fall short of rising benchmarks.
I have a lots of cynical comments I could toss in here but this very eloquent analogy says it so well.
“Only two subjects? What a sadness,” said Thomas Sobol, an education professor at Columbia Teachers College and a former New York State education commissioner. “That’s like a violin student who’s only permitted to play scales, nothing else, day after day, scales, scales, scales. They’d lose their zest for music.”
However, maybe his comparison to learning the violin doesn’t work after all. With the influence of NCLB, there’s not much music left in public schools anyway.