A new CEP report finds that 2/3 of elementary schools have increased time devoted to reading and/or math instruction since NCLB was enacted, and many have cut time for science, social studies, and the arts in order to do so. CEP should be congratulated for bringing some empiricism to a hot topic where much of the argument’s been based on theories and anecdote. That said, we shouldn’t read too much into this report: We don’t know anything about the quality of instruction schools are providing in any of these subject or how it’s changed since NCLB; nor does the report make any claims about the optimal amount of time schools should devote to different subjects.
This report should, however, lay to rest the debate over whether or not NCLB is driving recess out of schools–and even the entire hysteria that schools are eliminating recess. Only 5% of the districts surveyed have decreased recess time for elementary students since 2001-02. Recess was the least common time cut, followed by phys ed. That’s not an epidemic of recess elimination.
–Guestblogger Sara Mead
Add’l thought: CEP’s recommendation that NCLB reauthorization hedge against social studies/science elimination by introducing tests in these subjects and staggering them with every-other-year math and reading tests seems like a non-starter. The value-added train seems to be leaving the station, and that requires annual testing in math and reading.