Worth Reading

K-12 Testing

A special issue of the journal Equity and Excellence in Education on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) raises useful new insights into the flaws of this federal law. The goal of requiring all children to score proficient is subject to legal scrutiny as an irrational imposition that could be deemed unconstitutional. Another article uses microeconomic policy to conclude that the expense of enabling all students to reach one hundred percent proficiency will approach infinity, while the consequences of the effort will ultimately damage the quality of education as schools over-emphasize raising test scores. A third piece describes how the law uses a "colorblind" and individualistic approach to solving racial inequality that fails to confront continuing racism and social structural inequities of race and class. These and other fine pieces make this "special issue" worth the purchase. $25, order from http://www.tandf.co.k/journals/titles/10665684.asp


"No Child Left Behind: Where Does the Money Go?" takes a careful look at how NCLB funds flow to unaccountable corporate coffers via tests, test prep materials, the Reading First program, tutoring, and in the future, the "reconstitution" of failing schools. Author Gerald Bracey calls on the government "to establish policies and procedures to account for they money and to hold private companies to the same standards of accountability which it demands of public schools." http://edpolicylab.org, go to Ed Policy Research Unit, research.


NCLB Reform Tools
The Harvard Civil Rights Project has produced an NCLB video/DVD with a printed Resource Guide that takes viewers through key components of the law, organized in an introduction and seven sections: graduation rates; teacher quality; three sections on testing, including impact on minorities and on curriculum; NCLB report cards; and advocacy tips, which are useful and well-presented, but limited. Featuring many well-known educators, this will be a valuable tool for inducing discussion about NCLB and its consequences. http://www.civilrightsproject.harvard.edu/resources/manual/nclb_guide.php


Whose Schools? Our Schools! Get Involved! An Action Guide for Parental Participation in Education from the Advancement Project provides a summary of parental involvement rights under NCLB. This manual does not critique the law itself, as the Advancement Project has elsewhere done. Available in English and Spanish in a PDF format at http://www.advancementproject.org/.