More than 50 congressional Republicans have introduced legislation to eviscerate No Child Left Behind. The leave ’em behind lobby wants to let states opt out of NCLB without losing federal funding.
Don’t trust states to grade their own papers, warns Education Gadfly.
Dog bites man, writes Eduwonk. Conservatives want local control; the education industry doesn’t want to be regulated.
The story gets the political coalitions right, and that is what really matters, but unfortunately repeats a few NCLB myths and tells us that â€œmany voters in affluent suburban and exurban distrcts â€“ GOP strongholds â€“ think their schools have been adversely affected by the lawâ€ without, you know, telling us if there is any truth to thatâ€¦
Kevin Drum also notes that many conservatives never liked NCLB in the first place. NCLB is most vulnerable to “self-absorbed suburban kvetching,” Drum writes.
Even at this early date there are suburban schools that have fallen afoul of NCLB, and invariably this produces massive backlash among local parent who are convinced that their school is just fine and they’d better not lose one thin dime of federal funding just because their school fell 1% short of NCLB’s outlandishly complex testing requirements. And as we all know, when suburban parents complain, politicians listen.
Drum thinks 80 percent of schools “are basically OK and could probably be left alone.”
It’s the other 20% — the low-income schools located largely in urban inner cities — that need help. But for a variety of reasons, it’s nearly impossible to target our reform efforts there. So instead we end up with broad brush efforts that waste lots of money and eventually fail because they piss off suburban voters. Bleh.
But why can’t suburban schools meet NCLB goals? Because their low-income and minority students are doing poorly.
The Post quotes NCLB critics from the affluent Republican suburbs:
“Once-innovative public schools have increasingly become captive to federal testing mandates, jettisoning education programs not covered by those tests, siphoning funds from programs for the talented and gifted, and discouraging creativity, critics say.”
If the students are doing so well, they should be able to pass tests of reading and math proficiency without test prep.
Edspresso’s Kevin Carey wonders why there are no “examples or data to support those criticisms.”
As conservative Republicans attack NCLB, liberal Democrats who helped write the law — notably Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. George Miller — are defending it.