Two On Testing

NYT ed board says states are gaming NCLB’s testing requirements so we should be more like other countries. More relevant to the U.S., in a federal system like ours, enforcement is ultimately key. The will to enforce has proven difficult under the existing “partnership” approach with the states and there is no guarantee that a national system of standards would make it any easier (and could make it harder, right now the feds are just trying to get the states to enforce their own standards). Politically, here’s an indicator to watch: When a prominent national politician, from either party, steps up and embraces national standards as an NCLB remedy, then you should start paying attention to this issue. Until then, the politics on Capitol Hill are just too far out of alignment with the elite rhetoric on this issue.*

Related, from FL, the state is threatening to buck No Child Left Behind. Will get some attention because no one can resist some good Bush on Bush action. But, we’ll know that an understanding of the achievement gap has finally sunk in when states can no longer just say that because a school does well under its rating system but not with the feds, the problem must lie with the feds. Also, here, no attention being paid to the fact that states don’t have to overhaul entire schools because they’re missing one target. As this article shows, the discussion is still at the political level, not the how can we seriously help these schools level. It’s too bad that FL Democrats have spent so much time attacking NCLB, too, that they’re out of position to criticize the Jeb Bush Administration on that point.

*Though keep an eye on Hannibal, he’s got a plan on this one, too.

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