The following article, excerpted below, appears in the City Journal (Autumn 2005), the quarterly magazine of the non-partisan Manhattan Institute:
"A clear sign that the federal No Child Left Behind Act is fulfilling its main purpose in shaking up the ossified public-education establishment is how angry educrats are about it….
"It‘s particularly outrageous that Connecticut resists implementing NCLB, since the achievement gap between minority and non-minority students in the state is among the nation‘s widest…. Connecticut already tests students in grades four, six, and eight and says that‘s sufficient. But you only get one chance to educate a child. If a student is falling behind, parents and teachers shouldn‘t have to wait two years to find out….
"One of NCLB‘s key features is to shine a spotlight on America‘s achievement-gap problem by requiring states to break down each school‘s results by race, sex, English proficiency, and socioeconomic status.
"The Bush administration was sending a message to states that it‘s no longer okay to get their white, middle-class, suburban kids to pass the proficiency threshold while leaving minority, lower-income kids behind. Thanks to NCLB, states can no longer hide behind average scores or say that the typical student in a school or district excels. Each individual student now counts….
"If schools fail to make adequate yearly progress toward proficiency (each state sets its own targets), NCLB requires that parents hear about it, and then get the option to transfer their children to other public schools, or receive a modest stipend to enroll them in after-school tutoring programs, public or private.
"The provisions seem to be working. The New York Times recently profiled several school districts across the country that, due to NCLB pressures, are scrambling to bring all their students up to speed by identifying and helping the kids who need special support. New math and reading scores, out this summer from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, showed real gains in elementary schools and a narrowing of the racial achievement gap….
"NCLB isn‘t perfect…. But NCLB’s key tenets—high standards and expectations, clear measurement and accountability, and consequences for results—must remain, no matter how much educrats complain."
For the complete article, please visit http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_4_sndgs05.html
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