In his Class Struggle column this week, Jay Mathews looks at one of the odd provisions of No Child Left Behind, the one which requires the states to submit statistics allowing the feds to name the most "persistently dangerous" schools in America. And here are the results:
Mathews points out that this statistical fairy tale of a map has nothing to do with school violence, accountability or even NCLB.
The map on page S7 says something entirely different, which I think should be a comfort to No Child Left Behind bashers, and a reality check for supporters of the law like me. It says that this is still America, with a Constitution that gives states and localities power to slow down and frustrate whatever the federal government tries to make them do, and they are using it to turn No Child Left Behind into one more modest reform that will likely nudge our schools in the right direction, but not make that much difference and not do much harm either.
I disagree with much of what Mathews has written about NCLB but in this matter, sadly, he’s probably right.