Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Deborah Meier on NCLB and politics

One of my heroines in public education is progressive educator Deborah Meier, who has an article out in the Nation on politics and NCLB.

What she says about NCLB is spot on. So please read her article.

One minor quibble: I can already hear the pro-NCLB police out to destroy Meier's work because she's got one thing wrong in her article. Please. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

She's got this wrong: "all children need to score in the top 25th percentile". (I think she might be talking about meeting proficiency: to be considered 'proficient' on the state test, the test-taker needs to get 70% correct on the exam.)

If anything, there are whole host of other issues about NLCB that are beyond unreasonable.

One is the horrendously impossible standard of getting 100% of kids testing proficient in 2013 or 2014. Umm. There's just no way you'll get 100% of the kids scoring proficient (meaning 70% correct or more) unless the tests get so dumbed down or you've got cheating, which we already know happened in Texas. You'll always have kids who won't do well on a standardized test. And to punish the school for not meeting this superhuman goal goes beyond reason. Federal money makes up around 11% of total school funding. I'd say it's only fair to have schools be accountable for 11% of their results.

If anything, I wish she'd say more about the Democratic party involvement with NCLB. it's not just the Republicans involved in this. The DLC, as I've said before, stands firmly behind NCLB. And remember during the primaries, they exhibited shark-like behavior towards anti-NCLB candidates such as Dean. Check out their policy statements on the web.