A recent issue of the E-Examiner included brief reviews of some recent studies of NCLB. One study from The United Church of Christ's (UCC) Public Education Task Force:
criticizes the law for relying on testing and punishment without acknowledging that many schools still lack the resources they need to succeed.
The report emphasizes that NCLB ignores many realities that affect schools and students: segregation; race; poverty; school finance; civil rights; rural isolation; a child's language, culture and identity; good teaching; and respect for educators. Of course, this is nothing new, teachers have known it all along, but now someone else who studied the problem for 4 years has reached the same conclusion.
Another report, this time from a special issue on NCLB from the journal Equity and Excellence in Education reaches the conclusion:
the expense of enabling all students to reach one hundred percent proficiency will approach infinity, while the consequences of the effort will ultimately damage the quality of education as schools over-emphasize raising test scores.
In other words, people have concluded that academically and financially the goals of NCLB are impossible to reach.
There is one, all encompassing, simple reason why 100% is impossible: IQ. Yes, IQ. Some people just aren't going to be able to pass math, English, social studies, history, etc. We accept without question the simple fact that not everyone has the same physical abilities in the practice of high school sports (of course, that's different--sports, unlike academics, are REALLY important), but we are unwilling to acknowledge the fact that not everyone has the same intellectual abilities, and that no amount of testing will improve those abilities.
Related to this is the undeniable fact that some kids will simply choose not to do the work required, not only to pass classes, but to pass mandatory testing. Our current system, including NCLB, makes no provision for 66% of the school/student/parent equation. If a student, for whatever reason, decides not to pay attention or do the work, and their parents (assuming they weren't raised by wolves--I suspect many of my students were) pay no attention to the performance of their offspring, then the efforts of the finest teachers in the land, and her Majesty, the Queen of All Testing, Margaret Spellings, will come to nothing.
Only the completely unaccountable 66% can change this preordained outcome. Any bets on that one?
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