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NCLB Outrages

National Council of Churches Public Education Committee: 'No Child Left Behind' Act is leaving too many children behind

A National Council of Churches committee has
warned that the "No Child Left Behind Act" is leaving more children behind
than it is saving, especially children of color and poor children.

Instead of treating children "as unique human beings to be nurtured and
educated," the statement says, the act has encouraged school districts to
regard children as "products to be tested and managed."

Declaring that "Christian faith demands, as a matter of justice and
compassion, that we be concerned about our public schools," the NCC Committee
for Public Education has issued ten "moral concerns" about the implementation
of the act.

The ten critiques examine the effects of the law on students, teachers,
schools and their communities.

The committee also faults Congress for appropriating less federal funding
than the law originally authorized for every year since its passage.

Today's statement decries the business-management assumptions that are the
foundation of many of the law's purported reforms.

"The No Child Left Behind Act approaches the education of America's children
through an inside-the-school management strategy of increased productivity
rather than providing resources and support for the individuals who will
shape children's lives," the statement declares.

"As people of faith we do not view our children as products to be tested and
managed but instead as unique human beings to be nurtured and educated. We
call on our political leaders to invest in developing the capacity of all

The statement criticizes the federal education law in the context of a 1999
NCC General Assembly policy statement that affirmed: "... criticism of the
public schools often ignores an essential truth: we cannot believe that we
can improve the public schools by concentrating on the schools alone."

Since the signing of the No Child Left Behind Act in January 2002, the
members of the NCC's Public Education Committee have met on several occasions
with members of Congress and policy experts on this law.

Among 65 national organizations the NCC has endorsed a "Joint Organizational
Statement on the No Child Left Behind Act."

"Overall," the statement says, "the law's emphasis needs to shift from
applying sanctions for failing to raise test scores to holding states and
localities accountable for making the systemic changes that improve student

Members of the NCC's Committee for Public Education and Literacy represent:
the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ; the Christian Methodist Episcopal
Church; the Episcopal Church; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the
Presbyterian Church (USA); the Progressive National Baptist Convention; the
United Church of Christ; and the United Methodist Women.

Contact: Jan Resseger, Committee Chair (216-736-3711), (216-308-9611),

NCC News: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252, pjenks@ncccusa.org; Leslie Tune,
202-544-2350, ltune@ncccusa.org

— National Council of Churches Public Education Committee
NCC News


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