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[Susan notes: In his inimitable way, Gerald Bracey marshalls facts to demolish bombast.]

Submitted to Washington Post but not published
10/19/2006

To the editor


Secretary of Education Spellings has repeatedly said, as she did in her letter of October 19, that because of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) "9-year-olds made greater gains in five years (on National Assessment) than in the previous 28 years combined." This is astonishingly misleading and wholly disingenuous on her part.



First, the five-year period in question is from 1999 to 2004. No National Assessments of trends occurred in between those two years and none has occurred since. Thus, all of the gains could have occurred while Bill Clinton was president. NCLB did not even become a law until early 2002 so it could not have had an impact during the school year 2001-2002. The implementation of the law in 2002-2003 can only be described as chaotic and surely no gains were registered then.



National Assessment tested 9-year-olds in early 2004. That leaves only September, October, November, and December of 2003 for NCLB to work its wonders. I don't think so.





The writer is a former director of testing for the Commonwealth of Virginia and for Cherry Creek (CO)

School District and author of Put to the Test: An Educator's and Consumer's Guide to Standardized Testing.

Gerald Bracey


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