Friday, January 28, 2011

Every Child Left Behind

It was one of the crowning achievements of the administration of Bush 43 -- No Child Left Behind. It was the revolutionary law that was to hold teachers accountable for their students. Schools were to be held accountable.

But, there was a problem. It didn't work.

Students are now judged largely on standardized tests. So are their schools, and in some cases, so are their teachers. So, what happens? Many teachers are afraid to teach useful stuff. it's much easier to teach to the standardized tests, so that the students will look like they are succeeding.

What happens? The students learn how to score well on standardized tests. They don't learn problem-solving skills. They don't learn to read ... to really read. They don't learn to write proper English. Their math skills are horrible. Sure, they can use a calculator or computer, but they have no idea how to assess if the answer that is coming out is correct.

I shouldn't generalize this to all schools, all teachers, all students. But there are far too many. President George W. Bush was correct. We needed (and still need) education reform. He tried. I give him credit for that. And, he did place a newfound focus on education. It's a first step, but perhaps we need to take at least half a step back before we take a step forward.

Tell me I'm wrong. Comment. Berate me. I like a good argument, but as I said in an earlier post, of course, my opinions are correct. Or, at least they are until you convince me otherwise. And, you know what, if you do convince me otherwise, I'll be grateful.

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