More than one in four schools nationwide need to improve to satisfy the No Child Left Behind Act.
The law, known as No Child Left Behind, seeks to raise achievement by meting out sanctions to schools that fail to reach achievement targets on standardized tests. It has succeeded in focusing educators’ energies on closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and others, said the study, by the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan group.
But requirements that many educators consider unworkable are stirring resentment and could undermine commitment to the law’s goals, the study said. Among the most disputed passages are those that penalize schools whose disabled students or non-English-speaking students fail to score as highly as other students, the study found.
Actually, subgroups just have to show progress toward eventual proficiency.
One unnamed official cited in the study ridiculed the law’s tendency to label thousands of public schools as “needing improvement,” a legal euphemism for failing.
Well, maybe “needing improvement” means that some schools need to improve so that all children make progress — not just the students who are easy to educate.
While few students in needs-improvement schools are using the law’s transfer provisions, about half are receiving extra tutoring.
Update: To my surprise, the New York Times ran an excellent editorial Tuesday on No Child Left Behind, focusing on the need to include most children in special education programs.