We have a lot of rules in our overly-large school district.
Probably at the top of that list is “never get quoted in the Post”. As in the Washington Post, our national local paper.
Today, however, our superintendent hit the newsprint on purpose by talking trash about No Child Left Behind in Marc Fisher’s column.
“The last thing I’m going to do is subject some third-grader to tears because someone’s standing over them saying, ‘You must complete [this standardized test], you must complete.’ That’s not happening. Let them fire me for it.”
Fisher goes on to make some great comments of his own about the underlying concepts of the law.
No Child Left Behind is built on a mirage. At some point that’s always just over the horizon, the law assumes, all children in the nation will miraculously read and compute at grade level, simply because they have been tested and tested and tested again. The theory is that somehow, when told the exact number of children who are lagging in achievement, teachers will agree to render the magic that they have thus far withheld and — poof! — those kids will become smart, cooperative and productive.
As we get closer to that utopia, it’s becoming ever more clear that Some Children Remain Behind and that, gadzooks, Not Every Child Is the Same. Oh, and this: Staking everything on a test doesn’t produce a flowering of inspired teaching, but rather … “an obsessive focus on tests”.
As the fight over whether to continue this impossible dream continues, it’s nice to know the people leading our system have some backbone.
But let’s see who blinks first.