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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

White House Looks into No Child Left Behind Overhaul

...overhaul? How about throwing it overboard?

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is looking for input on the No Child Left Behind Act. "Act" is a key word: we act like we're doing something about education, when really all we're doing is keeping the bubble test companies and asessment consultants in business.

Care for input, Secretary Duncan? I've got your input right here. Despite the dutiful claims of our state education bureaucracy, I have yet to see any evidence that No Child Left Behind has done one thing to improve what South Dakota kids get out of their K-12 education. From what I've seen firsthand, NCLB creates silly numerical objectives and cuts into time for a broad, liberal education with heaping helpings of history, arts, and even physical exercise.

We need less assessment from 50,000 feet and more teachers on the ground. We need caring individuals working face to face with students, talking with the kids, reading their papers, correcting their calculus, spending less time responding to arbitrary statistical mandates from Washington and more time responding to the unique needs of every child in their care.

More input? Check in with the Clintons: last time I got to visit with them, they both said we should bag No Child Left Behind. Check in with Carl Chew, the Washington teacher who refused to harm his kids by subjecting them to the NCLB tests. And check in with past Madville Times posts on NCLB's failure here, here, here, and here.

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