A More Punitive NCLB, but With a Nicer Name?
Yet what the administration is really proposing is even more punitive and will expand the pro-privatization and destabilizing policies represented in its "Race to the Top" slush fund, including school closures, charter takeovers, and/or supposed "turnaround models", where at least half the staff would be fired, to all the nation's lowest performing schools, or else risk having their Title one funds being withheld. From Education Week:
The Title one program was originally created to try to equalize funding for poor schools. But these proposals, if adopted, would apparently be provided only to those schools that put into place the administration's heavy-handed "reforms". Again, from the AP:
Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post accurately portrays the proposed changes this way:
None of the distorting effects of basing teacher or school evaluation on standardized test scores alone will diminish under this system, even if they are now "value-added" measures, and in fact, would likely grow even more extreme, especially for our neediest schools.
Ignored are the significant methodological problems of fairly basing evaluations on value-added test scores, as pointed out by the National Academy of Sciences and other experts, who have warned of the unreliability of such measures, and their potentially damaging consequences.
In apparent response to complaints that the overemphasis on scores in reading and math in NCLB has driven out other parts of the curriculum, according to the NY Times,
That's generous of them.
Nothing here is likely to achieve the goals that the administration supposedly has to attract experienced, quality teachers to work in our lowest performing schools; in fact, they would be likely to leave in droves, given the increased risks of being judged on unreliable test score gains and/or losing their jobs.
What else? Oh, yes, Duncan will change the name of the program:
Leonie Haimson is the Executive Director, Class Size Matters.
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