The new Advocate is out, several must reads here, check it out!
Public schools got their report cards last week with the release of national reading and math test scores. A look at what the results say about student skills--and No Child Left Behind (NCLB), President Bush's three-year-old education initiative:
Are students scoring higher? Yes and no. The results of the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress were the first since broad implementation of No Child Left Behind. On a 500-point scale, fourth-graders improved on average by 1 point in math and 3 points in reading over 2003's results. Eighth-graders scored 1 point higher in math but 1 point lower in reading.
What were scores like before NCLB went into full effect? From 2000 to 2003, when the math exams were last given, fourth-graders' scores jumped 9 points, and eighth-graders' rose 5 points. In reading, the only data were for fourth-graders, whose scores climbed 5 points. So the rate of improvement has slowed.
But is Bush's plan working? Yes, says the President, who calls last week's results "encouraging." That's debatable, says Jack Jennings of the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan advocacy group. Early data show NCLB hasn't helped boost scores, he says, and the slowdown in improvement may suggest that "it might actually be holding some students back."
Are kids still getting left behind? The good news is that the gap between math skills of white students and black students is shrinking. But Gage Kingsbury of the Northwest Evaluation Association, which conducts testing for public schools, says the NCLB's goal of eliminating the gap by 2014 seems too optimistic. "At this pace, it'll be 2034 before they're on a par," he says, adding that, without huge advances, achieving parity in reading may take 200 years--yes, 200.
May be holding some student's back...for 200 years. It is time to give up on this ludicrous law and start looking for real solutions without help from corporate America.