States face balloon payment on NCLB

At first, your mortgage payments are small. Then the balloon payment kicks in and you can’t handle it. That’s how many states have set proficiency goals to meet No Child Left Behind, says a Center on Education Policy study. In the early years, goals are small and achievable. In later years, student achievement is supposed to soar to reach 100 percent proficiency in 2013-14. To switch metaphors; I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. From Education Week:

The center found that 23 states have, in its words, “backloaded” their student trajectories by calling for smaller gains early on, but planning for jumps of up to 10 percentage points in proficiency beginning with the 2010-11 or 2011-12 school years.

. . . In establishing its annual measurable objectives, (California) estimated a 24.4 percent proficiency rate by the end of the 2006-07 school year in language arts for students in elementary and middle schools. However, the state is expecting a jump to 35.2 percent in 2007-08, to 46 percent for 2008-09, and to 56.8 percent for 2009-10.

California’s definition of “proficiency” is a lot higher than in most other states.

Everyone expects the feds to give up on 100 percent proficiency, because it’s not going to happen, however low the standards go. So it makes sense to set easy targets in the early years and wait for the 100 percent goal to be modified or abandoned.

I wonder what would be realistic. How about 10 percent advanced, 40 percent proficient (really proficient), 40 percent basic and 10 percent rated creative?

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  1. Whose decision is it?