One of those “bipartisan commissions” has been studying No Child Left Behind and has just released their report.
These bipartisans believe the law should be expanded to include tests for high school reading and math, and science for grades 3 through 12.
The recommendations from the Commission on No Child Left Behind underscore that the emerging debate over the law is not over whether it will continue, but rather over how much it will be expanded and modified. Even the panel’s leaders acknowledged that their proposal is more sweeping than many politicians had expected or wanted.
“You’re never going to hit a home run unless you swing for the fences, and this is swinging for the fences” said Tommy G. Thompson, a former secretary of health and human services in the Bush administration and a former governor of Wisconsin.
That baseball metaphor is a pile of crap, as are these recommendations, since at least two of the assumptions that make up the foundation of NCLB are flat out wrong.
There is very little evidence that constant testing and threatening teachers is going to improve student learning.
It certainly will improve test scores for many of the kids. But much of that gain will come from learning how to take tests rather than from understanding math, reading, and science.
The other fallacy embedded in the law is that all students learn at the same pace and will therefore test “at grade level” (and Ken Goodman has some thoughts on that misused measurement) at the same time in their life.
Holding to that concept pretty much guarantees that some students who need more time will fail (as will their schools since perfection is required by 2014), and some will not be allowed to move faster as we put all our resources into the first group.
And then, of course, we must completely blame the teacher if (when) a student doesn’t meet these artificial standards.
Among 75 recommendations, the panel also proposed evaluating teachers on how well their students perform. The law requires that teachers be highly qualified and demonstrate mastery of the subjects they teach, but the commission said the law also should require that teachers be highly effective. Teachers would have to meet that requirement by showing that their students improved on tests.
Thus completely distilling teaching and learning in America down to a standardized test.