Looks like The New York Times’ editorial writers took time to read the No Child Left Behind study that the reporters apparently did not. They note:
…school districts acknowledge that the law has generated improvements, but they also assert that scary trends are afoot: a majority say that they have had to “narrow” the curriculum to focus on math and reading for children who needed to be brought up to speed.
How is that a bad thing? There is little evidence in the data, compiled by the Center on Education Policy in Washington, that schools are throwing out other crucial courses and chaining well-performing students to a narrow range of basic classes. Three-quarters of the districts say that the law has not caused them to cut back on art and music — which are typically the first to go — and a large majority assert that science instruction has remained intact.
Also, The Times ed page notes the stuff in the report that should be headline grabbing:
In this school year only about a fifth of districts say they have intensified efforts to find expert teachers for high-needs schools and only about 5 percent are offering financial incentives to attract good teachers to those schools. That will need to change if children in poor neighborhoods are to be given the chance to succeed.
I think my $500 is safe.