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NCLB Outrages

Wheels finally falling off 'No Child Left Behind'

Jim Broadway makes an excellent point: Congress will never admit they made a mistake. They'd rather let NCLB wither away.

By Jim Broadway, Publisher, State School News Service

It was launched in 2002 like a jumbo jet with no landing gear. The federal No Child Left Behind policy was bound to crash.

So now it is coming down. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan confirmed last week that states soon will be able to seek "waivers" from the requirements of the nationĂ¢€™s disastrous experiment with public education. Details are to come in September.

If you can't prevent a crash, it's best to look away.

NCLB requires that every child in America become "proficient" in math and reading by 2014 or their schools would face severe sanctions. The ramp of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), which measures a district's progress, grows steeper each year.

How have the districts of Illinois done, AYP-wise? By 2006, more than one in five had fallen off track. By 2010 more than 64% -- nearly two-thirds -- failed to meet the federal requirements. Bad as it sounds, this performance is typical among the states.

By 2014, therefore, most school districts in Illinois -- in the entire country -- could face the ultimate NCLB sanction: dissolution. The law is a political, not an educational, invention. Its fundamental premise is so flawed it has resisted reauthorization.

Congress hates to "start all over." That would be to admit a major mistake. Powerful policymakers and huge corporations, especially the testing industry, are invested heavily in NCLB and have much to lose. NCLB has resisted the overhaul most say it needs.

So it will slowly be waivered into oblivion.

On what basis will the feds grant states NCLB waivers? Federal officials are suggesting a state will need: standards that prepare students for college and careers; "robust" data; and educator accountability systems based on "student growth."

For more, specifically about Illinois, go to the link below.

— Jim Broadway
State School News Service


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