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NCLB Outrages

Educational Triage in D.C.

This commentary in Education Week makes a critical point about Michelle Rhee and about Federal School Reform.

By Jennifer L. Jennings

. . .In January 2008, Rhee announced a $1.5 million program called âSaturday Scholars,â an intensive tutoring program designed for elementary school students failing the cityâs standardized test. . . .

Bmost observers of Chancellor Rhee and the District of Columbia public schools failed to read the fine print. The Saturday Scholars program was not designed to help the lowest-performing students in the district, those in the most dire circumstances academically. Rather, it unapologetically targeted students just missing the passing mark. Washington Mayor Adrian M. Fentyâs press release on the program said as much. By inching these students over the cut score, the district would see its passing rates dramatically increase.

Why focus on 2,500 students who are near passing when you have 17,500 students who are nowhere close? Such is the irony of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which holds schools accountable for the percentage of students passing state tests. Even if the lowest-performing students gain by leaps and bounds, yet do not clear the passing hurdle, their schools get no credit. . . .

Education Week does not allow full articles to be posted. You can read the rest at the url below.

Jennifer L. Jennings is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Columbia University, and will join the sociology department at New York University in the fall. She is the former author of the eduwonkette blog on edweek.org.

— Jennifer L. Jennings
Education Week
2009-06-17
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/06/17/35jennings.h28.html?tkn=QZXFrbC8%2FrNdHqyuTPgfoL0bz%2BOfzgtSpB1x


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