Don’t miss this must-read Education Week article on No Child Left Behind by Jeff Archer. Billed as a “Postcard From Independence, MO.,” it’s really more of a letter. Still, one well worth reading. Archer takes a sober look at the good and bad of NCLB. He notes that:
“What is clear is that the law has focused new attention on those students most at risk of academic failure. It also has added urgency to the district’s efforts to better align instruction with Missouri’s standards.”
But also that, “At the same time, there’s a sense among many here that the law is unfair. Its high expectations came just as the district swallowed state budget cuts that reduced staff planning time and increased student-teacher ratios.”
Also worth reading is this provocative guest-written Jay Mathews column.
Back and forth about the MCAS in Massachusetts. The state is making real progress but now there are calls to raise the standards more…just because 96 percent of the kids pass, some after multiple tries, doesn’t mean the standards are weak.
In the New York Post Diane Ravitch takes Klein – Bloomberg to task over test scores in the city and instruction. Her punchline: New Yorkers have learned an important lesson about the Department of Education this past week: Don’t believe its press releases. Ouch.
The Washington Times continues to follow the residency verification effort in Montgomery County where officials are trying to assure parents that they will not be reported to the authorities if they’re undocumented (only put out of the schools if they don’t actually live in Montgomery County…how reassuring that must be).
In San Jose, Mayor Ron Gonzales recognized several schools in Alum Rock for improvements under California’s accountability system. History buffs and voucher fanatics take note, Alum Rock was home to the first ever federal school voucher experiment in the early 1970s.
AP reports new education spending figures out from the Census Bureau and kabuki back and forth about NCLB and also takes a look at the situation in New Orleans. AP also writes about President Bush’s teacher proposal for the Middle East which is facing a little rough sledding. Bush’s instincts are right, but it sure would be nice to see a teacher plan for right here in the states too.
A new study on race and special education from Matthew Ladner of the Goldwater Institute is out. He’s right about the problem — minorities are not currently well-served by special education programs — but his solution, special education vouchers, has some problems too.