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

Friday, October 31, 2008

NCLB Guaranteed Failure Juggernaut Picks Up Steam

Here's to the Chicago Tribune for reporting on the damage and the collateral damage:
By Tara Malone, Darnell Little and Jo Napolitano | Tribune reporters
October 31, 2008

Passing rates plunged among Illinois' bilingual students this year after they were given the same exams as other students, and dozens of public schools have been deemed failing as a result.

Schools across the state—including in suburbs from Evanston to Schaumburg—were stung by the change, as many now face a series of sanctions. Sixty-six schools did not meet progress goals based strictly on the performance of their bilingual students, up from eight a year ago.The students faltered most severely on reading exams, where the overall passing rate went down from 61.4 percent in 2007 to 37 percent, according to the 2008 Illinois School Report Card data made public Friday. The passing rate for math dropped by one point, to 61.1 percent.

Ironically, the declining scores among bilingual students widens one of the very gaps that the federal No Child Left Behind law was conceived to narrow. Not since the ambitious law took effect in 2002 have the performance of non-English speaking students and their peers been so disparate, a Tribune analysis shows.

"It's a peculiar insanity of No Child Left Behind that kids who are officially designated as 'English language learners' are tested in English which, by definition, they haven't learned. So failure is built in," said Bob Schaeffer of Fair Test, a non-profit group that monitors the quality of achievement exams nationally. . . .

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