Dr. Stat

Dr. Stat is a Statistics Professor. This blog is his opportunity to share ideas and opinions about education (especially math education), politics, and whatever else comes up.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

No Child Left Behind is a Failure

as many of us have known, suspected, predicted, preached, whined, cajoled, cried, complained, and generally tried to get anyone to notice.

But, you know, anytime you have a big government program that "benefits the children" no one will pay any attention to the fact that it is bad, wrong, useless, harmful, inefficient, or even unconstitutional--which NCLB clearly is, as the federal government has NO AUTHORITY in the area of education. Paul Weyrich, in the linked article, explains again what is wrong with NCLB. The idiotic measure of "progress" have nothing to do with real progress or real education. Teachers all over the country know what we all should have known to begin with--the program causes wasted efforts to prove the school is proficient which, in most cases, only takes resources away from other important areas. Yes, some math and reading scores are up. A little. But they were on their way up before NCLB, and who knows if the trend would have continued or not? Meanwhile, science, history, geography, music, and art are shunted to the side. I know reading and math are most important. But not to the exclusion of all else, IN PARTICULAR, when reading and math can so readily be taught WHILE teaching science, history, geography, and maybe even music and art.

Local schools and local teachers can figure these things out, but large bureaucracies (expensive bureaucracies) can't. So more teachers are "highly qualified?" I wouldn't believe it. Maybe. Giving attention to teacher qualifications is important. But so many are receiving spurious or nominal certificates that come from completing some busy-work program that likely does nothing significant to improve their actual teaching performance. Good teachers have to be SMART. You don't get smart by attending a certificate program. Good teachers have to be GOOD WITH KIDS. This is an innate quality that I don't think anyone can be taught, certainly not by taking a few evening classes from an Ed. School.

I wish somebody would give me a chance to fix the schools. The first thing I would do is give the federal government the boot, right where it belongs.