Monday, January 07, 2008

Should "No Child Left Behind" be left behind?

A good friend of mine works in education, so I regularly hear bits and pieces from the world of education. One thing I hear over and over is how much educators hate the No Child Left Behind law. Some obviously hate it because it forces outcomes to be measurable, and it is easier to claim achievement when it can't be measured. Others hate it, because it gives so little flexibility to teachers in adapting their educational process to their students.

This article claims that NCLB should not be amended, as suggested by the White House, but scrapped altogether. It makes the point that NCLB punishes teachers for the failings of communities (high crime, poverty, drug dealers, etc.)

THe article makes some good points, although I have heard the same argument many times in business - usually from people who are making excuses for their own failings. (It is easier to blame the test, than to admit you failed it.) I am interested in the opinions of other Mod-Bloggers. Is NCLB fundamentally flawed or are educators making excuses? Or are both true?


Sean said...

I think on some level it has to be both.

The teachers I know (and somehow I know a good number of them) dislike it more because they are force to teach to the test rather than focus on good teaching patterns. The argument I hear from them is that, while many students learn what they need to know on the test they don't actually learn how to apply it in real life. I'm somewhat convinced by the arguments they're making. This is why the further on in education you get, the more broad and vague the questions get, because anyone can recite back facts - it takes true mental connection to find connections between those facts.

I tend to agree with the premise of NCLB (standards are good), but I think that it's been implemented badly. Not really sure how to make it better, but the premise is a good one.

CRCHAIR said...

I think School choice is really the answer to the problem. If parents had the ability to send their kids to the schools that they want, then they would choose the schools that are best for their children. Or at least, we wouldn't have to hear that parents had no power over their children's educations.

Sean said...

yet another reason to implement a school voucher system.