The “No Children Left Behind” Act is finally leaving children behind, just as most thought it would. Approximately half of U.S. high schools failed to meet federal achievement standards this year, marking the worst failure rate since the decade old act that swore to eradicate this issue. The Center on Education Policy reports that more than 43,000 schools fell short of the proposed standards.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan had predicted failure rates as bad as the 82 percentile earlier this year, but the revelation of rates worse than that are motivating her to take action now. The law, as it stands, states that students must be performing at grade level in math and reading by 2014 – a pipe dream in most educators eyes. Educational reforms must be put in place in order to create flexibility for states to move forward. Duncan said, “whether it’s 50%, 80% or 100% of schools being incorrectly labeled as failing, one thing is clear: No Child Left Behind is broken.”
Federal officials such as Jack Jennings, president of the Washington, D.C.- based center have labeled the law, “too crude a measure.” The law is actually four years overdue for a rewrite, mostly due to the confusion in Congress of the best approach to fixing it. “It (No Child Left Behind) needs to be changed. If Congress can’t do it, then the administration is right to move ahead with waivers,” Jennings said. While the waivers can fix the immediate issues, parents might have difficulty gauging any progress since schools would be rated differently then; using more than just one test score for reference.
A couple factors that could render beneficial would be including college-entrance exam scores and adding the performance of students on Advanced Placement tests. Some members of Congress are saying that the President and Duncan are creating with these waivers a “backdoor education agenda,” that will ultimately let schools off the hook.
The largest issue with the exhaustively debated law is that the schools with tougher standards are being punished. And the schools showing signs of success, albeit aren’t reaching the sanctioned goals, get the same treatment as schools producing below reproach.
SOURCE: U.S.A. Today