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NCLB Outrages

Does Your State Have an Exit Exam? Blame NCLB

Ohanian Comment: George Sheridan, California teacher, offers a California-focused answer rebutting claim that NCLB has nothing to do with exit exams, but his answer can be universalized to all states. In the name of NCLB's Adequate Yearly Progress, states exert all sorts of pressures, threats, and sanctions to try to scare students into doing better.

George is absolutely right when he says: Proponents and opponents alike believe that a crack in any part of this monolithic enterprise could shake the whole edifice to its foundations.

I would just add one word: shake the whole edifice to its corporate foundations.

Parents and teachers need to stop whining to corporate politicos who caused this mess. They need to join together and crack the testing system.

Assertion: NCLB has nothing to do with the denial of diplomas. High school exit exams are based on state policies.

Here's a teacher's Knowledgeable Answer:

Although the second sentence quoted above is technically true, it is misleading in two ways.

First: The California High School Exit Exam is used to determine Adequate Yearly Progress under NCLB for California Schools. So it clearly has something to do with NCLB. The State Board of Education based its July 2003 decision to retain the Exit Exam as a graduation requirement partly on the grounds that it is necessary to threaten students with severe consequences in order to get them to take the test seriously and thereby reduce the number of schools failing to make AYP. Thus, NCLB was cited by California state policymakers as a reason for denial of diplomas.

Second: NCLB and Exit Exams generally are part of the same standards-and-accountability movement. They are based on the same set of beliefs about schools, about learning, and about motivation. Almost without exception, the same groups have lined up to support or oppose each. Proponents and opponents alike believe that a crack in any part of this monolithic enterprise could shake the whole edifice to its foundations. And that is a big part of the reason why State Superintendent Jack O'Connell offers no alternative path to a diploma for any student who cannot pass the CAHSEE.

— George Sheridan
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