Thursday, March 10, 2011

After a decade of No Child Left Behind

We're approaching 100% "failure"

Arne Duncan said Wednesday, that 82% of all schools could now be labeled as "failing" under NCLB rules. The DOE estimates the number of schools not meeting targets will skyrocket from 37 to 82 percent in 2011 since states have "raised standards" to meet the requirements of the law. Yes, we're truly racing towards the top.

The latest news has forced Duncan to re-triangulate. He has been pushing, so far unsuccessfully, for NCLB re-authorization for the past two years. He still praises NCLB for supposedly "shining a light on achievement gaps among minority and low-income students," but now admits, ""No Child Left Behind is broken" and needs to be fixed.
"This law has created a thousand ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed."  
That's all  true. The law is all about test-and-punish. "Fixing" it, could only mean easing the standards or allowing waivers for charter school or other Duncan favorites. But when we first made this point, he labeled us a "proponents of the status quo." Remember?

Finally, says Duncan,
"We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible, and focused on the schools and students most at risk."
Yes, yes. What a great idea! But isn't that exactly what NCLB is all about--"shining the light" on failing schools?

By the way, who are these people who've "been in the business" of labeling schools as failures, anyway? They should definitely get out of the business.

  • "Obama wants to see 5,000 failing schools closed."--MSNBC 
  • "Eventually, he [Duncan] said, he hopes to see 1,000 failing schools turned around each year.--NYT
  • "In the first round [of Race To The Top] there will be “a lot more losers than winners,” Duncan said, "and the department plans to offer two subsequent rounds of funding for improving failing schools."-- Harvard Magazine  
  • Arne Duncan's $3.5 Billion Lever for Turning Around Failing Schools--Edweek
I could go on. But you get the point.

NCLB's stated goal is to reach 100% proficiency in reading and math by 2014.  But the way things are going, if we stay the course, we should reach 100% failure rate some time within the next three years.

Congratulations are in order, I suppose.

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