The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 was “An act to close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility and choice, so that no child is left behind.”
Schools fell woefully short of that grand goal.
- Schools are not held accountable for student learning outcomes and achievement.
- Effective curriculums have not been adopted.
- Teacher training has not improved.
- Schools remain inflexible.
- Parents are denied school choice.
Recognizing national education failure to meet President Bush’s NCLB goals, President Obama’s administration offered states waivers from NCLB. States seeking waivers must adopt favored education policies including linking teacher evaluations to student test scores. Conveniently aligned with that requirement, states are allowed to create their own targets for annual student achievement and establish policies to help the lowest-performing schools. (Stephanie Banchero, Wall Street Journal 3/1/12) 32 states have received waivers from provisions of NCLB.
Only in this age of celebrated multiculturalism and diversity would No Child Left Behind (NCLB) morph into a Dark Children Left Behind waiver (DCLB) A brief look at Virginia and Florida waivers is instructive.
Virginia state goals:
- 82% of Asian students must answer 23 of 35 items correctly
- 45% of Black students must answer 23 of 35 items correctly
(Samieh Shalash, Newport News Daily Press 8/16/12, National School Boards Association)
Florida’s plan for student groups to be reading at or above grade level by 2018:
- 90% of Asian students
- 88% of White
- 81% of Hispanic
- 74% of Black students
- 72% of economically disadvantaged
- 72% of English Language Learners
- 78% of Students with disabilities
(Ross and Schultz, The Palm Beach Post 10/11/12, NSBA Torres, Central Florida Future 10/21/12)
The focus of DCLB is adults. Lawmakers and education leaders are in lock-step with lowered expectations despite decades of successful studies and classrooms which demonstrate demographics don’t affect student learning potential. Research shows that effective curriculum and instruction directly affect student learning outcomes.
Links to a few examples:
- Project Follow Through
- Project Synergy
- Success Academy Charter Schools
- Gering Public Schools
- Arthur Academies
Low expectations guarantee actual failure while meeting low standards allows false claims of success. This phenomenon is responsible for increasing the underclass. In 2011, the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation ranked the United States 4th highest level of inequality among 27 countries.
Nebraska’s proficiency standards are closer to the National Assessment of Educational Progress Basic level. (Hanushek, Peterson, Woessmann, Achievement Growth: International and U.S. July 2012) More Nebraska students meet the targets, but they have not acquired (been taught) the skills.
The Russian Parliament held hearings 10/22/12 to expose endemic racism and inequality in the United States. (Alan Cullison, WSJ 10/23/12) Russia may have a point. Perhaps a world body could step in and save these American students from the regime. As long as unaccountability and failure bring in MORE for adults, America will continue to leave students behind.
The long-term failure to educate poor and minority students, as well as deny them school choice, renders the system more caste than racist. Perhaps we should consider exporting poor and minority children to China for their K-12 education.
Following graduation in China, these poor and minority American children could be repatriated to the United States and pursue higher level education along with Chinese students we welcome to do our defense research. The American graduates would then be prepared for the challenge and promising future of demanding occupations.
We would have a steady supply of American skilled workers that, unlike the Chinese, we could retain upon graduation. That is, if these American students chose to live where legislation relegates them to the underclass.
Joe Queenan (One for the Books 2012) provides insight into poverty and literacy.
I grew up with parents who never had any money. “…lots of times my three sisters and I had no food, no heat, no television. But we always had books. And books put an end to our misfortune. Because to the poor, books are not diversions. Book(s) are siege weapons.” (Joe Queenan, My 6,128 Favorite Books WSJ 10/20/12)
DCLB waivers from NCLB are a change, but not the change we hoped for.