Monday, August 11, 2008

Just change the rules

I haven’t talked to anyone, conservative, liberal or libertarian, who has been happy with NCLB. Never fear, if you don’t like the outcome, someone will suggest just changing the rules. From OSUToday:
    Up to three-quarters of U.S. schools deemed failing based on achievement test scores would receive passing grades if evaluated using a less biased measure, a new study suggests. OSU researchers developed a new method of measuring school quality based on schools' actual impact on learning. The impact measure more accurately gauges what is going on in the classroom, which is the way schools really should be evaluated if we're trying to determine their effectiveness, said Douglas Downey, co-author of the study and OSU professor of sociology. Read full story
Having school administrators be held accountable for the performance of children is not a new idea. It’s just become quite unpopular because it’s GWB’s pet program (The Bush administration has spent more money on education than any previous administration, and with no more success, because the federal government shouldn‘t be reaching into the the classroom to tweak education). Schools always take the credit when Worthington or Upper Arlington’s children do well in the national tests (suburbs of Columbus with many business and faculty families). No one wants the other award. Failure or Falling Behind. We all know the foremost reasons for success are genes and home life. Good schools and committed teachers can take that combination and run with it. Even then, some won’t succeed; and a few missing one or two will, surprising everyone. Married parents are a huge factor in school success because marriage determines the income, neighborhood and consistency that children need to do well in school.

Sociologists and educators will continue to sop up grants in an effort to make it something else. Like blaming the president, or you and me. Or past wrongs. Or lead paint. Or the neighborhood. They should spend their time studying the children who make it despite all odds. Then work from that instead of studying failure and building one more schoolhouse of cards. Oh, they’ve done that already? There are schools that succeed with minority and low income children from single parent homes? Vouchers? School choice? Parental involvement? Uniforms? Discipline? High expectations? Well, golly.

Another view: NCLBlog
A Baltimore teacher More Humbly did I teach

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