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NCLB Outrages

No Child Left Behind Lives On

Stephen Krashen letter to the New York Times:
There is little reason to celebrate waivers from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) ( No Child Law Whittled Down by White House, July 6). NCLB’s "obsessive focus on test results" will be much worse under new regulations: The new Common Core Standards calls for an astonishing increase in testing. NCLB requires standardized tests in math and reading at the end of the school year in grades 3-8 and once in high school. This will be expanded to testing in more subjects (social studies, science and maybe more), and in more grade levels. There will also be interim tests given during the year and there may be pretests in the fall to measure growth through the school year.

This means about a 20-fold increase over NCLB, more testing than has ever been seen on this planet. There is no evidence that all this testing will improve things. In fact, the evidence we have now strongly suggests that increasing testing does not increase achievement.

More grade levels to be tested:

PARCC document
Race to the top for tots
(For a reaction, go here )

Interim tests:
Duncan, A. September 9, 2010. Beyond the Bubble Tests: The Next
Generation of Assessments -- Secretary Arne Duncan's Remarks to State Leaders at Achieve's American Diploma Project Leadership Team Meeting

The Blueprint, (op. cit.) p. 11. US Asks Educators to Reinvent Student
Tests, and How They Are Given

in the fall ( value-added measures: (August 25, 2010). The Blueprint (op.cit.), p. 9.

in more subjects: The Blueprint A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. United States Department of
Education March 2010; Education and the Language Gap: Secretary
Arne Duncan's Remarks at the Foreign Language Summit

No evidence it will work:
Nichols, S., Glass, G., and Berliner, D. 2006. High-stakes testing
and student achievement: Does accountability increase student learning?
Education Policy Archives 14(1)

Additional evidence in Krashen, S. NUT: No Unnecessary Testing.

by Dana Goldstein

A New York Times front-page story today by Motoko Rich asks whether No Child Left Behind has been "essentially nullified" by the Obama administration in the face of inaction from a divided Congress.

While it's true the administration has offered more than half the states waivers freeing them from a central provision of the law--that schools that do not achieve universal academic "proficiency" by 2014 be labeled as "failing" and subject to state intervention—it would be too simple to conclude NCLB is no longer a potent force in American public education. For starters, the law’s best innovation remains in place, requiring schools and states to break out achievement numbers by race, socioeconomic status, English-language learner status and special-education status, so we can all grasp exactly how big achievement gaps actually are. And the law’s most controversial feature—its reliance on standardized test scores as the most powerful marker of school success—has actually been doubled down on by the Obama administration, which has used the NCLB waiver process and its Race to the Top grant program to push states to tie teacher evaluation and tenure to student test scores. (As Rich notes, under the original NCLB test scores were used to shame schools, but not individual teachers.)

What's more, the NCLB waivers don't fundamentally change schools' and states' relationship to the federal Department of Education, because the under-funded law never provided a way for districts, states, or Washington to sanction supposedly "failing" schools. About half of all American schools are "failing" according to the terms of the law, yet there was no chance budget-crunched states could have effectively intervened in that many schools, or provided all those tens of millions of students with education alternatives. In fact, only about 1 percent of eligible families were able to take advantage of NCLB's dictate that children in underperforming schools be allowed to transfer to better schools within their districts. There were no consequences whatsoever for the districts and states unable to deliver on this promise, or many of the others contained in the Pollyannish law.

— Dana Goldstein with Stephen Krashen analysis
The Nation blog


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