Julie with a B

Tuesday, July 26, 2005
A sheep in wolf's clothing
I often disagree with what the current administration does. However, the No Child Left Behind act, after much whinging and moaning from the states, has shown to be affective.
From Lexington in The Economist, this weeks issue:
The National Assessment of Educational Progress has bee periodically testing a representative sample of nine-, 13-, and 17-year olds since the early 1970’s. This year’s report contained two striking results. The first is that Americas nine year olds posted their best scores in reading and maths since the test were introduced. The second is that the gap between white students and minorities is narrowing.

While there are many reasons these scores could improve, the ideas that lie behind it
have been widely tried at the state level since at least the mid-1990s. Mr. Bush deserves credit for recognizing the winning ideas thrown up by American’s “laboratories of democracy” and then applying them at the federal level. . . . In his first year in office he teamed up with Ted Kennedy (he was then a “uniter, not a divider”) to push his education reforms through Congress.

However it is getting done, I applaud this improvement. For whatever reasons and whomever you wish to blame, my children did not come away with the depth of knowledge from elementary school that my generation did. Anything that focuses education on reading, math, and writing is good. Without those, there can be no continuation of the more complicated topics. Without math and the ability to read and communicate, there is no science or literature or second languages. And
The act not only requires states to measure the general progress of their children. It also requires them to disaggregate their data to reveal the performance of specific groups such as Latino children or poor children. The aim is to prevent states from boosting the overall performance of their children while leaving vulnerable groups behind.
This last is very important. Now to find a way to prevent something else. What has happened here is that high school students who would fall in the 17 year old testing group are encouraged to take their GED at the end of their sophomore year or early in their junior year and then leave school. The message was, gosh, you are just unmotivated, why not take the GED and go on to a vocational school? Oh and also get out of our testing pool while you are at it.

Businesses have long complained that the quality of employee they are getting is very low. One 6th grade teacher here in Santa Rosa put his money where his mouth is. Sold his international corporation and came here to teach.

Just how did this Act come about? Because a Republican president pushed national educational reforms through Congress. Reforms that required the states to step up to national standards. I am amused. As the article states, Prez Bush is a “new kind of conservative”. Sort of a conservative in liberal clothing.


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