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Volume III, Number 10, November, 2005

Failing AYP at the Top

By Jamie McKenzie (About Author)

The recent release of NAEP test results underlines the bankruptcy of current national educational policies and the frantic measures enacted with NCLB/Helter=Skelter.

President Bush and his two Secretaries of Education have failed AYP. The scores are pretty much flat. The progress is negligible. And both political parties in Congress have failed AYP along with the Administration. Having tampered mightily with systems they little understand, these lawmakers have been "up to no good." They have increased stress, raised the level of turmoil, tampered with sound practice, toyed with unproven change strategies and distracted schools and teachers from their real work.

What Katrina was to the Gulf States and New Orleans, NCLB/Helter-Skelter is to the schools of this nation.

The federal authorities should leave schools alone and stop interfering in a domain about which they have little understanding.

AYP = Adequate Yearly Progress.

To view the actual test results, go to the NCES Web site. Click here.

Quoting from an NEA news release:

NAEP Scores Show Minimal
Changes in Reading and Math Scores

Achievement Gaps for Minorities Closing at Slower Rate than Before NCLB

WASHINGTON -- The release of 2003-05 data in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report indicates that the so-called "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) law has resulted in very little improvement, if any, of students' math and reading test scores. In fact, the National Education Association (NEA) noted results in some areas indicate that progress has slowed in the last two years.

The NAEP results show continued improvement in math in grades 4 and 8, a trend that was emerging before NCLB. The scores further demonstrate an increase in reading scores for fourth graders and a slight decrease in reading scores for eighth graders. Unfortunately, the achievement gaps for white and Black students in fourth and eighth grade math closed at a slower rate in the period between 2003-2005 than in previous years.

The rate at which the achievement gaps narrowed between white and Hispanic fourth graders in reading and math also slowed. In addition, the small decreases in the achievement gaps in reading are accompanied by flat scores for those students in the top groups, whites and those not eligible for free and reduced lunch. NEA is deeply committed to closing achievement gaps but not by holding the achievement of top students down.

"The results are a very troubling indication that not much has changed since the enactment of NCLB," said Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association. "The biggest and most alarming change is that the achievement gaps between white and some minority students appear to be closing at a slower rate than before NCLB. These children cannot be left behind, they deserve the best public schools have to offer. And, NEA is working to bring real solutions that will do just that," said Weaver.

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© 2005, Jamie McKenzie, all rights reserved. This article may be e-mailed to individuals by individuals, but all other duplication, distribution, publication and use is prohibited without first receiving explicit permission. Contact for information.