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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No Child's Behind Left

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is looking for a new name to replace the soon to be

defunct No Child Left Behind law. I certainly hope this administration does not change it into something like “No Child’s Behind Left”. With the newly proposed national “core standards” initiative, it’s no wonder why many dedicated teachers feel that the latter, farcical name (NCBL) could become “reality” as a non-intended consequence.

Moreover, according to data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, eight of the 10 top-scoring countries have centralized education standards. However, so do nine of the 10 lowest-scoring countries in math and eight of the 10 lowest-scoring countries in science.

One might then ask, shouldn’t we be interested in students’ depth of understanding as well as their motivation to learn, and not just test scores alone? I have not seen an iota of data to support a claim of superiority for countries with nationalized education systems.

Therefore, it’s no wonder why so many classroom teachers and education researchers are opposed to this “core standards” initiative — which, to some degree, has been driven primarily by politicians and testing companies (for more money).

Saying that our kids should receive a high-quality education is not the same as saying all students should get the same kind of education. A one-size-fits-all approach to education does not produce excellence. Furthermore, it certainly doesn’t further the cause of equity.

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