To look as though they’re meeting No Child Left Behind goals, states are lowering standards, concludes a study of 12 states by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE). Instead of educating more students to proficiency, states define proficiency down.
In California, for example, state officials in 2005 estimated 50 percent of fourth-graders were proficient or better in math on the California Standards Tests, compared with 29 percent on the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP.
California officials say NAEP isn’t aligned to California’s standards.
But U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, who helped champion the bipartisan No Child Left Behind legislation, considers the PACE study comparison valid and likened the discrepancies to law school graduates boasting they passed all their tests even though they failed the state bar examination.
. . . “There are a lot of people who can’t break the habit of gaming the system,” he said of states in general. “They want to appear they are doing right by the children, and the fact is, they’re not. NCLB shines the light, and that’s why there’s so much resistance. It shines the light on a lot of practices where districts and states were conning the parents about the quality of education the children were getting.”
Meanwhile Jonathan Kozol is trying to mobilize a 1960s-style movement to trash No Child Left Behind, reports Education Gadfly. I guess they’re defending the right to be conned about how poorly low-income and minority students are doing in school. Checker Finn writes:
(Kozol is) joining–even seeking to lead–the anti-NCLB backlash among educators, all the while waving his familiar flag of racism and injustice, yet refusing to offer any plausible alternatives for fixing our failing urban schools.
If he has his way, those inner city kids will stay ignorant forever–and he can keep penning outraged (but best-selling) books about their mistreatment at society’s hands. Where’s the real injustice in this picture?
What he said.