Sunday, May 18, 2008

No Child Left Behind

I don't generally hear good things about NCLB. Many teachers find it a useless intrusion that eats up time. Greg Forster at pajamasmedia writes on the benefits of NCLB.
The official justification — that NCLB would make 100% of students proficient — doesn’t pass the laugh test. But the arguments that it harms education, though they seem much more plausible, are also misplaced. And a federal mandate for testing produces important benefits that are well worth the costs.
The advantages he lists are likely less-visible to classroom teachers. For example, districts get money, and the budget-creators would likely make teachers ride unicycles if there were significant federal dollars attached to it.

Well, it's another side of the story.


Erin said...

Like many aspects of politics, NCLB sounds good in theory.

"But the arguments that it harms education, though they seem much more plausible, are also misplaced...For example, districts get money"

True, but the money districts get is horribly insignificant in comparison to the costs it takes to meet all state and federal mandates.

I live in a town with a growing special education population, especially in areas of Autism and other more severe special needs. We have the lowest taxes in the area, but we can't convince the town to raise them because the general population does not understand that we can't pay the same for today's education as we did 30 years ago. Even if you agree with everything NCLB does for schools, the fact is they require towns to do it without the financial support towns need to keep their heads above water.

Jonathan said...

But Erin, the problem with NCLB is actually educator's faults. For years education professionals been telling us that all kids can learn and that we're all really the same. Well, now they've been mandated to provide what they always said was possible. Of course it's impossible- there's a lot of dumb people. But they said they could get rid of the bell curve, and now they're being asked to do so. I just hope that maybe people take it to heart. Judging by the way they blame it on George Bush, I wouldn't count on it.