In The OC…

This story is bouncing around. Basically, a principal at a school in Orange County got busted for circulating a memo asking teachers to reconsider flunking some students to help with the school’s graduation rate. Whatever. This stuff goes on all the time for reasons like this and eligibility for sports and so forth, though most are savvy enough not to write it down! So, though there will be lots of outrage it’s really just a good example of why some sort of externally validated accountability is necessary in most human endeavors.

What seems more interesting is the buried lede in the story: The continuing ill-informed hysteria about No Child Left Behind. What really had the principal spooked turned out not to be an issue:

Jones [the principal] added that the school needed 95% of its seniors to graduate, but it actually needed 82.8% under the law — which was achieved.

Eli Broad, call your office.

Larger issue: There are loads of examples of this sort of confusion. Bottom line: Complicated issues = complicated solutions. But, there is plenty of blame to go around (Bush Administration, professional associations, NEA disinformation campaign) for the still — almost four years in — appalling amount misinformation about the law and what it requires, does not require, give resources for, not give resources for, etc…This is a serious problem and some real problems are not being addressed while some faux ones get a lot of attention.

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