A Petition Calling For the Dismantling of the No Child Left Behind Act
December 13, 2006
Thousands of educators, parents, and concerned citizens are participating in a coordinated movement to end the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Spearheading the effort is the Educator Roundtable, which has issued a petition calling on legislators to vote against reauthorizing the law. In its first week the petition received over 12,000 signatures. For the full text of the petition see http://www.educatorroundtable.org.
Longtime educator Marion Brady—one of the petition’s authors—explains that opponents of the legislation are “fed up with the law's simplistic approach to education reform and how it wastes student potential, misallocates teaching resources, shrinks the curriculum, and threatens the future of our democratic republic by undermining public education.”
News of the petition has spread with great enthusiasm among parents and teachers, who often leave poignant commentary along with their signatures. Writes one teacher, “I am retiring early. We feel we are fleeing a sinking ship, after giving our entire lives to our students and our profession. It is a sad way to end a career.” And a parent offers, “I feel like my little boy is being groomed for a life on an assembly line rather than being taught how to think and be creative.”
“When Congress passes No Child Left Unfed, No Child Without Health Care and No Child Left Homeless,” notes Susan Ohanian, one of Roundtable’s founders, “then we can talk seriously about No Child Left Behind.”
The Educator Roundtable petition cites several arguments against NCLB. Chief among them are:
• NCLB misdiagnoses the causes of poor educational development, blaming teachers and students for problems over which they have no control.
• NCLB uses pseudo-science to justify policies and programs that are damaging public
education—including diverting taxes away from communities into corporate coffers.
• NCLB rates and ranks public schools using procedures that will gradually label them all “failures” by creating unrealistic Adequate Yearly Progress goals, which set schools up to be “saved” by vouchers, charters, or privatization.
Up for reauthorization next year, the legislation had bipartisan support when President Bush signed it into law in 2002. The Educator Roundtable seeks similar bipartisan support to end the increasingly controversial act. According to Dr. Philip Kovacs, a lead organizer of this national effort, “individuals from both political parties were sold a false bill of goods, and it will take individuals from both political parties to stop NCLB from doing any more harm.”
In its place they call for formal state-level dialogues led by working educators, rather than by politicians, ideology-bound "think tanks," or business and industry activists who have little or no direct experience in the field of education.
CONTACT: Dr. Philip Kovacs, Assistant Professor, Department of Education, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville AL 35899, 678-612-9242, email@example.com