Tuesday, March 07, 2006

No Child Left Behind

I spoke with a friend yesterday whose girlfriend works for the teachers union. His take on Bush's NCLB program, based on info from his sweetheart, is that the program is really just an effort to kill public education.

If I understood correctly what he told me, a school must meet certain goals and standards, primarily through testing of students. However, no provision is made for students who don't speak English or have other problems. This tends to drag down the school's scores, especially if in a high-immigrant area.

If the standards aren’t met, some provision exists which the allows students to leave the school for another. (Sorry for my poor understanding.) Anyway, once students start to leave for better schools, i.e., private schools, the public schools will collapse under the declining enrollments.

I know that conservatives like school vouchers and that public school teachers tend not to, but I’ve never dug into it to understand the differences.

1 comment:

DrBlues said...

Alan,

Your take on NCLB is essentially correct. It is dangerous to ascribe motives such as "this is really just an effort to kill public education," but, whether that is the intent or not, it will likely be the result if the legislation is allowed to run it's course.

Schools are required to take yearly tests and show AYP (Average Yearly Progress). 95% of all students in a school must make AYP or the schools are subject to sanctions. This includes Special Education students and students with limited English proficiency

The first year they fail to make AYP they are identified for school improvement. At this point, if they do not show enough progress the next year, they are subject to "corrective action," and if they do not show enough progress the third year, they will be slated for "restructuring," which will require "at least one" of the following: reopen the school as public charter school, replace principal and all or most of staff, contract management to private company, or turn operation over to state.

There are schools in Idaho, particularly those with a large Hispanic population, who are at the point of "corrective action." It will be interesting to see what happens when they reach the "restructuring" stage.

This punitive model of reform is being reproduced in the Idaho House of Rep. Their latest attempt to avoid responsibility for the sorry condition of Idaho schools has similar "corrective action" language.

I talk about this in more detail on my blog.