Saturday, May 29, 2004


NYT discusses the connection between small class sizes and quality education. The most important point: the disconnect between providing small class sizes and the education bill, NCLB.

Yes, regarding the famed education bill brought to us by the DLC and the Bushies, on reducing class sizes, the bill has nothing, nada, zip.
And for the education war? All the rhetoric and data are in place for the education war: high standards, tough accountability, disaggregated data by the truckload. But financing?

No Child Left Behind is superb at finding fault. It has labeled a third of America's schools failing. It has labeled over half of New York City's middle schools failing. Within a few years, almost all city middle schools are expected to carry that label. Fine, fail them all. But where is the money from the states and the federal government to arm city schools with small classes and more good teachers?

Blaming public schools, their principals and teachers for losing the education war feels a lot like blaming the ground troops for losing the Vietnam War. Are we committed to an education war? Do we have the will? I fear that the late Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip Pogo, had it right: We have met the enemy and he is us.
There is no money for reducing class sizes. There is not enough money to cover the costs of implementing NCLB. There is a whole lot of talk about improving education especially for low income minority kids. But I'm afraid the bottom line is that their rhetoric masks true intent.

Update: Appalachia Alumni Association provides a link to the discussion about this article on the more, er, conservative side of the web.