The Horrid AYP Unmasked!

NCLB’s “adequate yearly progress” provisions have some problems, sure. But the reality is that they’re not nearly as bad as the rhetoric about them, and some of the problems fall in the “lesser of several bad choices” category because of the current state of play of state policy. These Hill staffers are not as dumb or out of touch as people think…This chart from the Olson-Hoff NCLB sweepstakes opus in Education Week debunks some of the common myths, especially the scapegoating of English-language learners* and special-ed kids. In the end, despite some sharp edges we’re back to the question of whether we’re going to hold schools accountable for educating discreet subgroups of kids, or not. In other words, is the right unit of analysis kids or schools? And also, again we face the disconnect between really grim achievement gaps and concerns that NCLB is telling us that some schools aren’t doing a very good job…those kids do go to school somewhere!

*Though the figure above should be taken in the context that LEP kids are the least dispersed of these various groups. In other words, the n of schools (not the n-size of the subgroup) that could miss AYP because of LEP kids is smaller than these other groups to begin with. But it’s still not the millstone it’s being made out to be.

Graphic courtesy of Education Week.

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