The Post has an editorial this morning that addresses some of the major inconsistencies with the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. The first is that most Virginia schools have been labeled as "failed", not because students are doing poorly but because they haven’t shown enough progress on the measures specified in the law compared to other schools around the country. In fact, some of the "failing" schools in this area scored at the highest levels on the standardized tests approved by the federal Department of Education.
There are other problems pointed out by the article but this is what stood out for me:
There are other conclusions to draw as well. One is that the administration, which has focused on this "standards" issue above all else, now needs to look harder at some other sections of the original No Child Left Behind Act. Schools have paid so much attention to the complex accountability standards that many appear to have ignored other parts of the legislation, particularly those that call for improvement in teacher quality. The Education Trust, an advocacy group, has recently published a report showing that the teacher-quality standards have been ignored and diluted – presumably because hiring good teachers costs a lot more than just administering tests. What is the value of tests without good teachers to help students succeed on them? The law needs revisiting.
It does indeed.