Ted Kennedy has an op-ed piece in today’s Post that, in just the headline, explains a lot about how well supporters of NCLB actually understand teaching and learning.
No Retreat on School Reform
The problem is that they and Senator Kennedy equate what is in this law with “school reform”.
Now, I will be the among the first to say that the American education system certainly needs a major overhaul.
The calendar most schools use comes from an agrarian society. Most of the curriculums used were designed for an industrial age that has ended in this country.
While many teachers have access to powerful communications technologies, their students spend more time outside of class using them than in.
Too much valuable time and money is sucked up by test preparation covering a very narrow band of learning centered around reading and math (arithmetic, really).
While time for the arts, science, social studies, physical education and foreign languages is cut and cut again.
Unfortunately, all of this is true even in areas that are already doing well on “the tests”, like the overly-large school district for which I work.
The sad part is that the people who concocted NCLB actually believe this all-testing, all-the-time program will actually lead to improvement of American education.
That a law with a foundational assumption that all students learn at exactly the same pace will succeed.
That an expensive system of threats and penalties will lead to better teachers and great schools.
It just ain’t gonna happen!