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NCLB Outrages

No college student left behind?

Comments from Annie: This editorial work of art nailed the reality of the overt fallacies and destructive repercussions of the No Child Left Behind Act. It is a horror to watch the spirit sucked out of our public schools. And it is like a prolonged nightmare to see the policies infiltrate and destroy our university system.

No college student left behind?

Bennington Banner

Thursday, September 28

The efficacy of President Bush's educational brainchild No Child Left Behind has been, to put it politely, called into doubt. The tortured logic of instituting an increasing system of punishments against school systems for not managing to wring effectiveness out of an archaic and tedious educational model is gradually becoming revealed for what it is - an unwillingness to own up to a mistake.

Granted, confessing to incompetence on a federal level isn't something one rushes into, but it has to be done if we're to halt the tottering progress of this misguided behemoth of legislation.

Well, at least that's what would happen in Lollipop Land. Here in the United States, Mr. Bush has not only rejected the cumulative evidence of the program's failure, but has started suggesting that the rough standards of NCLB be applied to colleges.

That's just what the situation called for - cutting off one of the last possible bastions of free thought and intellectual exploration. One has to be almost impressed by the completeness of the administration's convictions. They don't just press their educational agenda forward, they belly-slap into all levels of learning like an orca leaping from a swimming pool.

Granted, any college accepting the mangled remains of the generations ground through NCLB may find they don't have much to work with anyway.

NCLB de-emphasizes creativity and overemphasizes arbitrary test standards.

All across the country teachers are complaining that they spend all their time preparing their students for the test, and virtually no time pursuing the interests of the class or experimenting with new approaches. There is simply no room for imagination or freedom.

The goal appears to be to produce students who can pass their tests, but don't do much thinking for themselves.

One can be forgiven for wondering if this isn't all a ham-handed attempt to corner the technology market. Americans hear that Asian schoolchildren test higher in math and science, and they instantly begin to marinate in their competitive juices - never mind that many of the Asian countries in question acknowledge that their educational system is stultifying and ultimately self-defeating.

The thought that the administration's "standards" could be applied to higher education is as chilling as it is condescending. Students who were getting their first breath of air after years of being systematically coralled and tested will experience the joy of doing it all over again.

It's almost as though someone in the administration has said, "There's still a spark loose somewhere. Find it and kill it."

College, by definition, is the point where students can have their own agenda. Mr. Bush's agenda is beside the point. As he of all people should know, managing to meet college standards is no measure of success.

— Editorial
Bennington Banner


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