Eduwonk

Welcome Eduwonk to the wonderful world of edublogging. The new site, sponsored by the Progressive Policy Institute‘s 21st Century Schools Project, is off to a good start. It rips NY Timesman Michael Winerip’s latest attack on No Child Left Behind.

Under NCLB different states have different accountability plans, different standards, and different rules. Winerip makes easy sport of the differences between states. But what is his solution? A national accountability system applying to all the states? A single national test or national standards? Or maybe we just shouldn’t worry about those pesky subgroups and disaggregated accountability for at-risk kids? He doesn’t say.

At Winerip’s sample school black and special education students are way behind, Eduwonk reports. Is that OK?

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Comments

  1. No, it’s not OK. Are you going to give us the solution to the problem now? Do you have the magic wand that makes the special ed kids’ brains suddenly normal? Really. I’m waiting. I’d love to have the solution to this problem.

  2. Ken Summers says:

    “Under NCLB different states have different accountability plans, different standards, and different rules … But what is his solution? A national accountability system applying to all the states?”

    That’s especially ironic because the California teacher’s union is currently running radio ads attacking NCLB for being “one size fits all”, which is wrong because “children learn in different ways and at different rates, but the law requires all children to progress at the same rate” [quotes as accurate as I remember].

  3. I don’t think it matters if it is a state test or a national test. The result is still a “one size fits all” type of deal. Either the kid is performing at x level or not, regardless of whether the kid is as talented, mature, motivated, disabled etc. as the kid sitting in the next seat.

    It is becoming an issue for states with harder tests, though, because it looks like our kids are failing in greater numbers than kids in states with easier tests. The political pressure is *always* to look better.

  4. Actually, the law does not require the children to learn at the same rate, but as Rita said, to perform at x level. They can certainly learn faster than the norm. A 3rd-grader performing at 5th grade level is acceptable under NCLB.

    Tennessee is having some problems because of the accountability program already in place. For instance, students already had to pass an algebra test in order to graduate. Normally this is administered at the end of Algebra I, which many kids take in 8th grade. For NCLB,the state uses this test in part to determine the effectiveness of the high school. The problem is that the students who passed the test in 8th grade are not counted, because they were in middle school at the time; this artificially depresses the percent of kids in that high school who pass. There are lots of details like this that for some reason weren’t anticipated and need to get worked out.

    I’m not sure a single national test is the answer. I think some of these problems can be resolved. But the special-ed thing is going to have to be reworked. I can’t see the point of establishing a standard that is achievable by mentally retarded children, and applying it to the whole student population. What is accomplished?