Monday, March 15, 2010

No Child Gets Ahead, rev.2.0

Have you seen A Blueprint for Reform
The Reauthorization of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act

The next rev of No Child Left Behind calls itself a blueprint. That's like saying, "we're gonna build a house, we'll make some plans and throw some money at it" constitutes a blueprint. Um, no. A mission statement maybe, but a blueprint? No. Developing the new buzz words "world class education" and "college- and career-ready" doesn't make them a reality, or shed any light whatsoever on how you get from here to there.

At least it acknowledges how badly broken the current system is:

At page 7:

"Four of every 10 new college students, including half of those at 2-year institutions, take remedial courses, and many employers comment on the inadequate preparation of high school graduates."

That's simply shameful. How dare the pointy headed bureaucrats who administer this woeful failure of a system presume to regulate homeschooling?!? Clean your own house first, before you try to dictate what goes on in mine!

Of course, this new policy completely fails to address gifted education. And while closing achievement gaps is certainly a worthy goal, if the stated aim of this scheme is to allow America to compete on the world stage, why are we not supporting the best and brightest, the geeks and prodigies, the kids most likely to innovate and discover? For too long, the focus has been on the center of the bell curve, and tough luck to the outliers at either end. Now we're told that focus will broaden to encompass those struggling at the bottom, but as usual, no provision is made for the gifted and talented kids being held back by the system's failure to adequately challenge them. And no, making them tutor the struggling kids is not advancing their educations. It's making indentured servants of them. We are a culture of mediocrity. We want everyone lumped together and made average. We claim to value diversity, but our system breeds conformity and lowest common denominator thinking.

Instead of supporting new and improved tests and throwing more money at a problem that decades of throwing money at has not fixed, how about government getting out of the way of the actual educators and letting teachers use their creativity and talent to actually teach meaningful curricula instead of spending oh, 70 percent of the school year forced to focus on test prep to secure the precious federal funding that has come to mean far more than graduating kids with actual high school level skills?

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