[Susan notes: Here's one more reason why we should declare Gerald Bracey a National Treasure.]
Submitted to Baltimore Sun but not published
Subject: cross to bear
I don't usually find Chris Cross to be a humorous person, but his letter of January 23 made me laugh out loud. Attacking Nebraska's education commissioner, Cross claims that "such an approach breeds low expectations." That's really funny.
Nebraska is one of the highest scoring states in the union. In the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, only 6 of 41 participating nations outscored Nebraska in math and only one of 41 beat it science. Some low expectations.
Nebraska Commissioner Christensen is saying what his peers in all states should be saying: that the federal government has no business telling the states what to do when it comes to education, a state responsibility. He is also saying that it makes no sense to compare some urban school in Omaha with some tiny rural school in the hinterlands.
The No Child Left Behind Act is a weapon of mass destruction. Its target is America's public school system. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that 90% of all schools will fail to meet NCLB's provisions. The Council of Chief State School Officers puts the figure at only 88%. What is the purpose of a law where 9 out of 10 schools fail? It is to dishonor them and to raise anew the calls for vouchers and privatization.
The Maryland State Board of Education should take Cross' letter as if it came from Benedict Arnold.
I have an article, "No Child Left Behind: Just Say No," which outlines the destructive aspects on NCLB. Anyone can obtain this article by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gerald W. Bracey
1797 Duffield Lane
Alexandria, VA 22307
The writer is the author of What You Need to Know about the War Against America's Public Schools (Allyn & Bacon, 2003).
If the Sun wants to publish NCLB: Just Say No, I'd be happy to create an op-ed length version.