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NCLB Outrages

No Child Left Unspun: Five Years Later

If it weren't for the Iraq disaster, NCLB would probably be the
biggest scandal of the Bush years. But as with Iraq, the Democrats
bought into the con early and can't for the life of themselves figure
out how to get out.

It's too bad even Sam Smith doesn't mention this group of educators by name: Educator Roundtable. Say it often. Say it loud. Send a donation so we can advertize.

We are the group who will be heard. We could use some support:

THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND LAW is not only an enormous assault on the
sacred democratic principles of local control of the schools and the
Tenth Amendment, it isn't even working all that well.

Five years into to this scam invented by perhaps the dumbest president
ever to hold office, and never seriously questioned by either
Democrats or the media, there is no evidence the plan is doing what it
set out to accomplished.

The archaic media is too busy quoting experts and officials to
actually look at the numbers, but we checked out the record and found this:

No improvement in 8th grade reading scores
Less than a one percent improvement in 4th grade reading scores
A 5% improvement in 4th grade math scores
A 2% improvement in 8th grade math scores.

The math scores, while hardly worth throwing out democratic control of
the schools, seem at least some improvement, until, that is, you check
what they were doing before NCLB came into effect. For example, in the
ten years before NCLB, 4th grade math scores were also improving - at
a rate of 1.3 points a year as opposed to the 2.4 points in the past
five years. In 8th grade, the scores before NCLB were going up 1 point
a year; since NCLB they have gone up 1.1 point a year. This, of
course, assumes a perfection in standardized testing that we do not
seem to have achieved.

If it weren't for the Iraq disaster, NCLB would probably be the
biggest scandal of the Bush years. But as with Iraq, the Democrats
bought into the con early and can't for the life of themselves figure
out how to get out.


[From a teacher petition]

1. Misdiagnoses the causes of poor educational development, blaming
teachers and students for problems over which they have no control.

2. Assumes that competition is the primary motivator of human behavior
and that market forces can cure all educational ills.

3. Mandates data driven instruction based on gamesmanship to undermine
public confidence in our schools.

4. Uses pseudo science and media manipulation to justify pro-corporate
policies and programs, including diverting taxes away from communities
and into corporate coffers.

5. Ignores the proven inadequacies, inefficiencies, and problems
associated with centralized, "top-down" control.

6. Places control of what is taught in corporate hands many times
removed from students, teachers, parents, local school boards, and communities.

7. Requires the use of materials and procedures more likely to produce
a passive, compliant workforce than creative, resilient, inquiring,
critical, compassionate, engaged members of our democracy.

8. Reflects and perpetuates massive distrust of the skill and
professionalism of educators.

9. Allows life-changing, institution-shaping decisions to hinge on
single measures of performance.

10. Emphasizes minimum content standards rather than maximum
development of human potential.

11. Neglects the teaching of higher order thinking skills which cannot
be evaluated by machines.

12. Applies standards to discrete subjects rather than to larger goals
such as insightful children, vibrant communities, and a healthy democracy.

13. Forces schools to adhere to a testing regime, with no provision
for innovating, adapting to social change, encouraging creativity, or
respecting student and community individuality, nuance, and difference.

14. Drives art, foreign language, career and technical education,
physical education, geography, history, civics and other non-tested
subjects, such as music, out of the curriculum, especially in
low-income neighborhoods.

15. Produces multiple, unintended consequences for students, teachers,
and communities, including undermining neighborhood schools and
blurring the line between church and state.

16. Rates and ranks public schools using procedures that will
gradually label them all "failures," so when they fail to make
Adequate Yearly Progress, as all schools eventually will, they can be
"saved" by vouchers, charters, or privatization.



— Sam Smith


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