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

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Public School "Failure" from Sea to Shining Sea

I am still looking for a national news outlet that will say something, anything, about the study just published in Science that shows unalterable failure descending on all the elementary schools of California as a result of the NCLB's school-exploding, child-crushing, and teacher-demoralizing act. Not one so far. Instead, the Washington Post today is focused on the rise of test scores among test-abused poor children, which does nothing, nada, zero, to the incessant grinding of the NCLB juggernaut with its impossible proficiency demands. Their praise simply reinforces the self-imposed blindness of the hopelessly-hopeful neoliberal.

Today the Aiken Standard reports that this year's test results show 80 percent of the schools in South Carolina are already NCLB failures. Disbelieving pols even delayed the release of the results until they could run the numbers again. The numbers, gentlemen, are correct, even as the conclusions are not. And what is the universal reaction in South Carolina? Is it have a statewide press conference of superintendents to denounce this idiocy, or to march on Washington, or to stage a school shutdown, to go on television to explain to the public? No, one lonely assistant superintendent has the audacity to talk to the press about being "punished for having high standards." (Excuse me, sir, but your state just chose the steady march to assured mass failure, rather than adjustable rate balloon payment method that California chose).

In the meantime, the citizenry is kept ignorant by a corporate media that assures non-enlightenment, even while they scratch their heads and conclude that their public schools have simply let them down. At least thanks to the Aiken Standard for something:


Senior writer

More than 80 percent of South Carolina's elementary and middle schools didn't meet federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals this year - a statistic that didn't surprise state and Aiken educators, but does frustrate them.

The U.S. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation bases AYP results on PACT tests and levels of proficiency achievement for elementary and middle schools. Schools must meet proficiency requirements for the overall population and in subgroups of minority, low-income, special education and English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

The State Department of Education delayed the release of high school AYP results over concerns of possible computation errors. That data will be released with state and district results.

One problem with NCLB, said Aiken Associate Superintendent Dr. Kevin O'Gorman, is that South Carolina has a higher proficiency requirement than most other states.

"We're punished for our high standards," he said. "It isn't fair to judge schools on that."

At the same time, NCLB demands a moving target of proficiency. When AYP went into effect six years ago, schools needed to average around 17 percent proficiency in each population group. Now the requirement is around 58 percent.

"NCLB doesn't recognize improvement," said State Superintendent Dr. Jim Rex in a conference call Wednesday. "It categorizes a school as (not meeting AYP), whether the school missed by an inch or a mile. We have taken the charge seriously in terms of high expectations and, in many cases, our schools are being labeled unfairly." . . . .

1 comment:

  1. That kiss is AWKWARD! Hey Jim...keep up the good work. I can't read too much of the news about NCLB, it's just too depressing. Grateful you have to stomach and endurance for it. Would like to visit the site every day -- just don't have the time yet.