THE ACCOUNTABILITY DEBATE. The strong accountability movement in education has the potential to promote integrated schools. The recently passed No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires, for the first time that, after twelve years, states bring both poor and rich children to a level of educational proficiency. It will be virtually impossible to make the enormous strides required for low-income students unless states do something very dramatic to address school segregation. In Wake County, North Carolina, for example, an ambitious achievement goal set by the district provided the imperative for sustaining an integration plan. More immediately, new federal education legislation providing a right for children to transfer out of public schools that are deemed failing for two consecutive years may prove a boon for integration if properly implemented because it divorces residence and school assignment. As we noted earlier, poorly implemented accountability plans have the potential to increase segregation to the extent that test scores become the determining factor by which middle-class parents choose school districts; but if policymakers react appropriately, the accountability movement just as well could serve as a positive spark to promote integration.Please! Did these guys ever really believe that there was anything at all in the Bush plan that would encourage integration? Not a whit. In fact, Wake County has achieved what they have despite of, not because of, the racist school privatization juggernaut of NCLB.
Perhaps it is not too late for the Century Foundation scholars. I am glad to see this (NCLB's Poison Pill) on their site today by Greg Anrig, vice president for programs. It is proof that the the message has finally broken through. Now will they join the national effort to inform the American public about what is going on? Or will they take the Hillary route or the Kerry route into a neutral corner, hoping to avoid any of the potential bruises or knockdowns that may be inflicted in a real fight?
Greg Anrig, Jr., The Century Foundation, 1/15/2006