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January 03, 2003

No School Left Standing I'm

No School Left Standing

I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with Bush's "No Child Left Behind" idea, which labels schools as "failing" and then allows parents to send their children somewhere else, but from what I am learning, it sucks. Those against the policy suggest that it has a number of problems with it. First, White parents will take their children out of certain schools and send them to schools where they can be with students who are more.................White, enabling a greater level of segregation to occur. Secondly, those children who are not good students will simply move from one school to another, bringing other schools down to a failing level rather than benefiting from teachers who are thought to be much better. Instead of "No Child Left Behind" I've heard it referred to as "No School Left Standing" by administrators in public education (which, admittedly, is not my area of work).

Still, I find the ideas and debates interesting. Here is something passed through email that found its way to me from Phi Delta Kappa which gives Bush an "award" for these efforts. Made for some interesting reading. It came as follows:

THE EDUCATION ROTTEN APPLES AWARDS OF 2002

Gerald W. Bracey

INTRO

Beginning with the "Seventh Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education" in the October, 1997 issue of Phi Delta Kappan, the critiques and kudos that had been part of the text in early reports were set off in boxes as separate Rotten Apples and Golden Apples, respectively. The Golden Apples remain part of the report. However, in 1999, the Phi Delta Kappa Board of Directors (not the Kappan editors) decided that the Rotten Apples were inappropriate on the pages of their house organ. No doubt it was coincidental that this decision was reached just after a Rotten Apple recipient, Willard Daggett, had threatened to sue. Mr. Daggett is a sort of civilian Baron Von Munchausen who regales his audiences (for large fees) with assorted facts that exist nowhere but in Mr. Daggett's mind. The Golden Apples remain, but now the Rotten Apples are first posted to various lists and then archived at the Education Disinformation Detection and Reporting Agency (www.america-tomorrow.com/bracey). Herewith the miasmatic treasury of decaying fruit for 2002:

Referred

THE "CRAWFORD BEST DANG TROJAN HORSE SINCE ANCIENT TIMES " AWARD:

TO: George W. Bush

Who would have thought that a mere two years would be sufficient to eclipse such dis-achievement champions as Bill Bennett for lifetime honors, but the 5-4 Prez has done it with his No Child Left Behind legislation (he did have, we should note, a few warm-up years in Texas).

This is truly a weapon of mass destruction, a bunker-buster of mammoth proportions. Some of the lunacy is inherent in the legislation. Other gobs of goofiness fall from the work of the National Institute for Doctrinal Uniformity, previously known as the U. S. Department of Education. In its first pass at labeling schools as failures, the Department uncovered startling facts: Michigan has the greatest number of failing schools (1500) and Arkansas is home to the smallest (zero) (has anyone observed convoys of prairie schooners heading South on I69 out of Lansing?). Obviously, Bill Clinton was a better education governor of the Razorback State than anyone, Clinton included, previously realized.

The National Council of State Legislatures projects that 70% of all public schools will be labeled failing (or, "needs improvement" under the obfuscation code derived from another George, George Orwell). According to Department regulations, all children in failing schools must be offered the option of transferring to a better one. Crowding is not acceptable as an excuse (except, and I am not kidding here, where it might violate fire codes or other safety regulations). Schools with large numbers of students wanting in must have larger classes, buy mobile trailers or build more classrooms (how's that for an unfunded mandate?). We thus face the possible prospect in a few years of having 100% of our children attending schools currently occupied by only 30% of our children (no one has yet dealt with what those transferring students will do to the test scores of the "successful," receiving schools). I say, old chums, is there a bit of irrationality in all of this?

Chris Whittle is no doubt standing by ready to accept in Edison Schools kids arriving with the vouchers that Bush will without doubt resurrect.

The NCLB trap has already received additional attention and deconstruction in "The Twelfth Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education" (Phi Delta Kappan, October, 2002, posted at www.america-tomorrow.com/bracey/EDDRA/EDDRA26.pdf) and in "No Child Left Behind: Just Say No." Although many have been offered the latter, only the Minnesota School Boards Association has had to courage to publish it. It's been posted, and will be soon, if not already, archived at EDDRA.

Posted by Woundwort at January 3, 2003 10:54 AM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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