Here’s Diane Ravitch’s take on NCLB in her Bridging Differences discussion with Deborah Meier. I hope I can generate the hope she says she has about Congress fixing the travesty. From her post:

“After 10 years of NCLB, we should have seen dramatic progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, but we have not. By now, we should be able to point to sharp reductions of the achievement gaps between children of different racial and ethnic groups and children from different income groups, but we cannot. As I said in a recent speech, many children continue to be left behind, and we know who those children are: They are the same children who were left behind 10 years ago.”

and

“Congress, in its wisdom, will eventually reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I hope that in doing so, they recognize the negative consequences of NCLB and abandon the strategies that have borne such bitter fruit for our nation’s education system. NCLB cannot be fixed. It has failed. It has imposed a sterile and mean-spirited regime on the schools. It represents the dead hand of conformity and regulation from afar. It is time to abandon the status quo of test-based accountability and seek fresh and innovative thinking to support and strengthen our nation’s schools.”

One of the strongest pieces “celebrating” NCLB’s decade, and it has had extensive national coverage, is from the folks at FairTest: NCLB’s Lost Decade for Educational Progress: What Can We Learn from this Policy Failure? by Lisa Guisbond with Monty Neill and Bob Schaeffer. Monty has been a friend almost as long as Bracey. We crossed paths when he came to Virginia’s state board of ed meetings to caution against their early minimum competnecy insanity. Even back in those naive days of mine working for the state DOE what he had to say made a lot of sense, and marked the beginning of my typically fruitless battle against the insidious destructiveness of minimum competency testing.

The report, introduced at http://www.fairtest.org/NCLB-lost-decade-report-home, argues that

  • NCLB failed to significantly increase average academic performance or to significantly narrow achievement gaps, as measured by the NAEP. U.S. students made greater gains before NCLB became law than after it was implemented.  
  • NCLB damaged educational quality and equity by narrowing the curriculum in many schools and focusing attention on the limited skills standardized tests measure. These negative effects fell most severely on classrooms serving low-income and minority children.
  • So-called “reforms” to NCLB, such as “Race to the Top,” Obama Administration waivers and the Senate’s Education Committee’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill, fail to address many of the law’s fundamental flaws and in some cases intensify them.

Other than that  – – – –

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