Abandon hope all ye…The Times editorial board says this about No Child Left Behind and the pending overhaul:
The part of the [NCLB] law that labeled schools in need of improvement and subjected them to sanctions was flawed. It did not distinguish between truly abysmal schools and otherwise strong schools that missed performance targets with certain groups of students, like special education students. As a result, half the schools in some states were labeled in need of improvement and viewed as failing.
Except the law didn’t actually say that. In fact, it said pretty much the opposite. The language was clear that interventions should be targeted to whatever the specific problem is and the point was to identify schools that needed to improve – which if you look at the outcome data across the country many, including in our comfortable suburbs, could certainly do. Despite the claims, schools were not being reconstituted because one group of students was under-performing. And, states could have done exactly what The Times advocates here — namely design accountability systems that clearly differentiated between different schools in terms of the severity of the problems. Guess what? With one or two exceptions that were quickly abandoned, they chose not to for various substantive and political reasons. And as the reins come off that’s a lesson worth remembering.
Question worth asking: If popular government really can’t maintain a committed focus on dramatically improving schools, what, then, is the moral justification for not giving citizens options to those schools? In political terms I think the Rs get this and understand the long game here, I’m not sure the Ds do.
It’s Kevin Huffman v. K12 Inc. One interesting aspect of this is the extent to which school districts are involved in so many of these issues. When people complain about the uneven quality of charter schools, for instance, you rarely hear them point out that districts actually authorize the majority of charters (and on average are not as good at is as the professional independent authorizers). Doesn’t lead to easy answers.
LearnZillon’s Westendorf: The scarce resource is no longer content, it’s community.
Your organization can join Bellwether’s Talent Ready Institute in 2016. Great opportunity that is filling up now.
Line of the day: I was with a group of high school students last night in the mountain west talking about high school – post secondary transitions and one remarked dryly, “you have to remember, our frontal lobes are not fully developed yet so we’re not really engaging with the consequences of our choices.” So true. Reminded me of this.