Meaningless Change

Late last week, swamped by our big storms and the only slightly less windy vortex swirling around the Supreme Court, came the story that Virginia had received a waver from the adequate yearly progress (AYP) provisions of NCLB.

Our lovely parting gift for not winning Race to the Top.

Anyway, the waver means our schools “will no longer face sanctions if they fail to ensure that all students are proficient in math and reading by 2014”.

As much as I would like to cheer that news, the details don’t offer much to be optimistic about.

Instead of AYP, we will now have “annual measurable objectives”, of course calculated using the same lowest common denominator standardized tests. Plus, beginning next year, our districts must “base at least 40 percent of teachers’ and principals’ evaluations on students’ academic performance” (aka those same tests).

And, as an added bonus, schools will still get an annual report card, which will now come with a “new generation of educational jargon”, the better to confuse parents and students alike.

In the Post article, our superintendent is quoted as saying “No Child Left Behind had become less and less meaningful, because the standards were unrealistic.”

Nothing’s changed. Virginia simply traded one set of unrealistic, meaningless provisions for another.

NCLB is Working!

Which is why more than one-third of US schools were considered “failures” for the 2007-08 academic year under the AYP requirements of the law.

That’s 28% more than in the previous year and Indiana, Nebraska, and New York haven’t reported their data yet.

Nearly 20% of all schools have missed their goals for two or more years and have earned penalties that go beyond the failure tag, an increase of 13%.

Yep. Very successful.

We’re well on our way to the ultimate goal of 100% by 2014.