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NCLB Outrages

Catching Up Without Letting Go

Ben Chavez, American Indian Public Charter School in Oakland, Calif., discontinued morning drum circle where students and staff could discuss feelings--to make room for a daily block of intensive language-arts instruction. He told the reporter, "Blacks, Mexicans, Indians, and poor whites don't need more culture - they need some academics to get into Harvard or Berkeley or Stanford."

by Stacy A. Teicher

What spells "success" for native American students? Certainly one answer would be improvement in their reading and math scores, which lag significantly behind those of their white peers. But many educators also seek to give native students a solid grounding in their unique cultural traditions and history. And some worry that this is a goal that will lose out as an unintended consequence of the 2001 federal education law known as No Child Left Behind. . . .

"Whoever designed [NCLB] wasn't thinking anything about the history of Indian education," says one of the law's critics, Denis Viri, a research associate at Arizona State University's Center for Indian Education. "We feel an effective education is one that's defined primarily by the goals of the community. But [education in the US] is still a strongly assimilative system ... and in my opinion, No Child Left Behind is just another one of those roadblocks." . . . .

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— Stacy A. Teicher
Christian Science Monitor


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