"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sober in Massachusetts

The citizens of Massachusetts are the latest constituency to get a dose of reality as nearly one fifth of their schools are in danger of being labeled "failing" under NCLB. The news from the state DoE is hitting the air waves and state education officials are scrambling to put a positive spin on a law that was intentionally designed to have negative consequences.

Nearly 19 percent of the state’s public schools have failed to progress enough for at least two straight years toward meeting federal No Child Left Behind standards, according to preliminary Department of Education data released Tuesday.

The department identified 316 elementary, middle and high schools that failed to make adequate yearly progress toward meeting federal goals for at least two years, compared with 198 in 2005. Another 301 schools have specific groups, such as black, Hispanic, low-income or special education students, that must improve, compared with 222 last year.

“It is sobering to see the state’s numbers rise, but this system was purposely designed to identify problems within a school we may not otherwise detect,” Education Commissioner David Driscoll said in a news release.

Schools could face increasingly severe consequences for failing to make adequate progress, from being required to give parents a choice to send their children elsewhere to been put under state oversight.
The system was perfectly designed with impossible goals and an ideological agenda. Perhaps someone should send Mr. Driscoll a copy of Politics, Ideology and Education by Elizabeth Debray.

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