Sunday, November 13, 2011

Borsuk's Home Run

Borsuk is a very reliable reporter--and he pins the tail on the donkey.

When the No Child Left Behind federal education law was passed a decade ago, one of the things that united Republicans and Democrats in Congress was the feeling that the federal government was putting a lot of money into education and generally not seeing much evidence of what impact it had.

So the law sharply increased testing demands nationwide, putting force behind the demand from Congress to see results, including results broken down by such as things as race and whether students had special education needs.

Key words:  "Federal Government."

If ever there was an example of "We're here from the Gummint to he'p you" gone wrong, NCLB is it.

In 2001 and 2002, the year 2014 must have seemed a long way off. Congress set a goal that by 2014, every child in America, with just a few exceptions, would be performing at grade level.

Did they really think that no child would be left behind? Come on. Even in the best schools, some kids don't reach proficiency. And, in the less successful schools, you could improve things hugely and wonderfully and still fall far short of 100%. I'm in favor of huge and wonderful improvement. But 100% is ridiculous.

Conveniently, many members of Congress retired between 2001 and 2011.   So did GWBush, who pushed this hare-brained thing through.

The way out of this requirement was that the law was scheduled to be "reauthorized" in 2007. The unrealistic goal for 2014 could be fixed then, right? Wrong. That year came and went with no revised law. So did 2008, 2009, and 2010.


...The US secretary of education said a couple months ago that the No Child Left Behind system was becoming increasingly dysfunctional and, in the absence of Congress doing anything, the education department would give states waivers from requirements such as the AYP system and the 100% proficiency goal. To get waivers, a state would have to come up with plans for such things doing something about its lowest performing schools and judging teachers, at least in part, by student success.

Wisconsin was one of many states that quickly said it wanted a waiver. But meeting the requirements isn't so easy. Department of Public Instruction officials said they wanted to meet an application deadline of Nov. 14 - Monday, in other words. They're not going to make it.

DPI spokesman Patrick Gasper said last week that officials still think if they meet the next deadline, Wisconsin will get a waiver in time to avoid another round of AYP announcements next spring.

The optimum?  Dump D of Ed into the porcelain tubes, zero out D of Ed spending, and let the States do what the Constitution says:  educate their own children.

Don't take bets that it will happen.....until the revolution comes.

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