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

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Obama's NCLB 2.0: Worse Than the Bush Version

If Obama did not doom his Party's chances with the bollixing of health reform, he seems intent on sealing fate of the Ineffectuals by adopting the Business Roundtable plan for school privatization, a future citizenry of non-thinking drones, and total segregation of the poor.

In NCLB 1.0 devised by Bush's public schools demolition experts, the triggering mechanism for blowing up schools was called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), and it was based on formulae developed by states that set out each state's trajectory toward the mythical goal of 100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014. States could choose to take the steady step method to assured smithereens, or they could devise for themselves easy payments on the front end with huge balloon payments in the later years. The "ballooners" were counting on NCLB being dumped into the Potomac before the day of reckoning in 2014.

And that is exactly what is going to happen, according to the Prez. Sort of. What no one outside the Walton, Gates, and Broad camps could have imagined, however, is that NCLB 2.0 would be even more draconian than the torture of AYP under the original NCLB. At least with AYP, there was always some small chance that your low class school could cram, pray, or cheat its way to making the cut score for the never-ending annual tests.

Now with the Oligarchs' new plan, the bottom 5 percent of schools will be targeted each year for "turnaround," and it doesn't matter what the poorest schools do, because the poverty that assures them their status at the bottom of the barrel makes them sure targets for conversions of urban schools into apartheid charter chain gangs, either that or the second-most popular option of firing all the school staff.

Because the annual testing will continue unabated under the Oligarchs' plan that Obama will present, this new system will pit the poor against the poorer and the poorer against the poorest, because the only thing that will keep your school off the shutdown, er, turnaround list is some other school in your vicinity that is doing worse still. No targets, no impossible goals. AYP be gone, they don't need you anymore. Under NCLB 2.0, there will be a never-ending list of the "bottom five percent" of schools every year, and there is nothing any school can do except to hope there is some schmucky school further down the road that is even poorer.

It is the beauty of the capitalist, er, free enterprise system.

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