By Jamie McKenzie (About Author)
With all the talk of intelligent design, we sure could use some in Washington. These days it seems to be in very short supply.
We'd like to see intelligent design of educational policies, but the basic tactics of NCLB are a far cry from intelligent design. A recent report from the Project for Civil Rights at Harvard concludes that NCLB has failed to deliver on its intentions because of basic design flaws.
Quoting from the press release:
"The reports show educators at all levels struggling to implement a dramatic and extremely complex change in federal education policy, which radically alters the role of federal and state governments while imposing unprecedented responsibilities and accountability for test score gains. The reports demonstrate that federal accountability rules have derailed state reforms and assessment strategies, that the requirements have no common meaning across state lines, and that the sanctions fall especially hard on minority and integrated schools, asking for much less progress from affluent suburban schools. The market- and choice-oriented policies, which were imposed on schools "in need of improvement," have consumed resources and local administrative time but have small impacts and are not being seriously evaluated."
Inspiring Vision, Disappointing Results:
Four Studies on Implementing the No Child
Left Behind Act
Authors: Gail L. Sunderman, Jimmy Kim and Gary Orfield
The reports are available on line as PDF files. This article will present a brief summary of major findings, but the reports are worthy of careful reading.
Something precious has been stolen, but its absence is difficult to notice.
Masquerading as reformers, the Washington ideologues are imposing an untested, dangerous approach on schools across the nation.
For a list of the simple-minded, bad ideas being pushed on schools by the Ed Department, see "Weighing the Pig: NCLB as Simple-Minded Con" in the December 2005 issue of No Child Left.
|"Trust us. We have it under control."
Despite the arrogant, all-knowing tone of some administration officials in Washington, D.C., some members of this group are among the least competent to serve the American people in decades.
Whether it be disaster relief, mine safety, meat safety, reconstruction of Iraq, reconstruction of New Orleans or the reform of education, this administration has shown little capacity to plan or deliver.
The damage to American education and American children by NCLB is not as easily noticed as damage from a hurricane or flood, but the impact is severe and likely to endure for decades.
Months after Katrina, thousands of families are still waiting for FEMA to deliver much needed trailers, many of which sit parked unused and undelivered in huge parking lots.
In a recent New York Times article, the following data from FEMA was reported on families who still do not have trailers:
5,648 requested --- 2,890 occupied
St. Bernard Parish
8,023 requested --- 2,077 occupied
3,498 requested --- 1,364 occupied
21,557 requested --- 11,940 occupied
21,039 requested --- 3,342 occupied
St. Tammany Parish
12,922 requested --- 6,330 occupied
East Baton Rouge Parish
1,929 requested --- 1,180 occupied
(Source by FEMA)(pg. A24)
"Storm Victims Face Big Delay To Get Trailers" By Jennifer Steinhauer and Eric Lipton, February 9, 2006.
The failure of this Administration to protect the victims of Katrina was remarkable, but the damage being done by NCLB will some day rank high on the list of bungled program efforts launched during this decade.
The narrow focus on testing and accountability has ironically led to a kind of theft that is nearly invisible. When combined with badly designed testing systems, this focus gives credit to schools for doing bad things to children.