William Raspberry falls for misrepresentations about No Child Left Behind in today’s Washington Post. He frets that the law holds schools accountable for student test scores on a single day (it doesn’t, states can measure school performance by averaging scores over multiple years), he buys a hypothetical argument about a school making great strides but still not making “adequate yearly progress” (less of a problem than it appears because of the law’s “safe harbor” provisions), and he accepts the notion that offering students in low-performing schools public school choice, tutoring, or worst of all requiring school districts and states to do something about those schools amounts to “punishment.”
If you’re unconcerned about the facts, it’s a great read. If you’re interested in how the law actually works, this quick guide from the Education Trust is more useful.
Afterthought: The PR maven who lined this up deserves a raise!
Bonus Afterthought: Perhaps hit pieces like this wouldn’t be so common if the Bush Administration had done a better job explaining and implementing the law in the first place.
Counterproductive Afterthought: Raspberry also accepts the idea that schools are pretty helpless in the face of poverty and other social problems even though there is evidence to the contrary. But this seems like a terrible argument for No Child foes to be putting forward: Give us more money even though the schools can’t help solve the problem! Whatever PR maven came up with that ought to be fired!