Thursday, September 9, 2004

NYT takes the low road on NCLB...

Joanne Jacobs and company (follow the links) take the New York Times to task over an editorial that ran in its Sunday's edition. Joanne begins:
Because of No Child Left Behind, suburban schools that do a decent job educating affluent children may earn low rankings if they fail to educate black, Hispanic, low-income or disabled students. That's the point of the law. Yet it's missed once again by the New York Times, which focuses on the angst of well-off families who don't want their local schools marked down for leaving children behind.
It's not surprising that parents are frustrated and baffled by the duality of schools earning high marks by state standards only to fail with respect to NCLB. Rather than using this confusion as an opportunity to pan NCLB, the NYT should have taken the opportunity to educate parents on what’s going on. As Joanne points out, the main thrust of NCLB is toward lower achieving students. Success is measured not by school averages, but rather by whether all students are achieving academic proficiency. The main goal is to close the learning gap.

This will make a lot of parents unhappy. Each year the bar will be set a little higher, and more energy and resources will have to be spent on pulling the weakest students along. Strong and average students will necessarily suffer, and a lot of pressure will be brought to bear. Time will tell what adjustments will be made. In the meantime, parents and taxpayers need to be educated on what to expect. The NYT gets a poor grade for shirking an opportunity to do the right thing.

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