from The Columbus Dispatch - "Federal education initiative is a failure"
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Federal education initiative is a failureHope is dwindling that the No Child Left Behind law is going to improve studentsí performance. The first respected and tangible testing numbers available since the implementation of the law, enacted by "DC-knows-best" politicians of both major parties, renders nothing for No Child supporters to claim as a victory.
The numbers come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which compares data from states and various student demographic groups. The results documented in two recent reports, The Nationís Report Card: Reading 2005 and The Nationís Report Card: Mathematics 2005, indicate that:
Moreover, the nationís parents seem to have different expectations than policymakers and lawmakers regarding what it means to hold school systems accountable for student success.
The public continues to support the concept of accountability measures, but parents have difficulty understanding the constantly changing rhetoric surrounding the No Child law. More and more parents and state legislators are beginning to grasp how punitive No Child can be for their schools. The Public Agenda Foundation, for example notes that the more familiar parents and citizens become with the No Child law, the more concerned and wary they become of its one-size-fits-all accountability measure.
Evidence of rapidly declining parental support for the law can be found in a recent report by the Midcontinent Research for Education and Learning Organization. In an ongoing project to discover what parents and other community members think education accountability means, respondents:
Itís time for the governments at all levels to abandon the failed test-and-punish quick fix, get on with the hard work of identifying the causes of student achievement problems, and then address them. If the federal government should have any role in education, which is doubtful, it might be to fund research and development of more effective teaching strategies and learning systems that better meet the goal of improved academic achievement for all children.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan ran for president on a pledge that if elected, he would seek to abolish the U.S. Department of Education. Perhaps it is time to "win one for the Gipper" by fulfilling his wish.
is Distinguished Research Professor at the
University of Dayton and is President & Chief Executive Officer
of SchoolMatch®, a Columbus based educational auditing, research, data