Book offers stinky NCLB alternative
By Craig T. Neiskes
In his remarks to teachers and other Burlington School District staff at a back–to–school program Wednesday at Memorial Auditorium, Superintendent Mike Book offered up a unique illustration of why he and other educators think No Child Left Behind stinks.
The national education initiative, promoted by President Bush as the centerpiece of his domestic agenda and passed by Congress in 2002, requires schools across the country to assess students annually and to meet achievement and certain other goals to avoid running afoul of expectations and risking the loss of Title I money.
NCLB demands that all children be educated to the same high level, regardless of whatever social, linguistic or developmental limitations they may face, and by 2013 requires every child to be proficient in reading and math.
Book, in describing a job–shadowing experience with Corse Elementary School clinic clerk Linda Kirchner, explained — completely tongue–in–cheek — a new federal initiative that takes the "whole child" into consideration.
During his day in the clinic at Corse, Book said he experienced the case of a boy who, under doctor's orders, visited the clinic twice a day, morning and afternoon, to have a bowel movement. Once the boy was done, it was the job of the clinic staff — whether it be a nurse, clerk or superintendent — to go look into the toilet and determine the volume passed.
"Did you know poop came in small, medium and large?" Book asked to uproarious laughter.
Later that day, Book said he and Kirchner were having a philosophical discussion when the subject of NCLB came up, and the question was asked whether Bush knew the true depth of responsibility that has been placed upon schools for the care and education of the "whole child."
Kirchner, Book said, asked why he didn't call the president and let him know that.
"So I did," Book said, tongue still planted firmly in cheek.
He said he called the White House and told the president that the school district was responsible for measuring the poop of one particular boy. The president, Book said, was incredulous to learn that the poop of all schoolchildren was not being measured.
With that, and the appropriate apologies for what his talk with the president brought down on their heads, Book introduced to the staff a new federal initiative called NPLU — No Poop Left Unmeasured.
By 2014, Book said, the federal government has mandated that all poops shall be large poops, and that if any school had less than large poops for two consecutive years, it would be labeled a Pooper in Need of Assistance.
The guffaws and belly laughs throughout Book's telling of his tall tale were suggestive of a common belief among audience members that NCLB also is unreasonable in its expectations.
The Hawk Eye
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES