Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fed Government May Ease NCLB

From the NYT:

    The Bush administration, acknowledging that the federal No Child Left Behind law is diagnosing too many public schools as failing, said Tuesday that it would relax the law’s provisions for some states, allowing them to distinguish schools with a few problems from those that need major surgery.

    “We need triage,” said Margaret Spellings, the secretary of education.
    * * *
    Under the new program, the federal Department of Education will give up to 10 states permission to focus reform efforts on schools that are drastically underperforming and intervene less forcefully in schools that are raising the test scores of most students but struggling with one group, like the disabled, for instance. The No Child law, which President Bush signed in 2002, was intended to force states to bring all students to proficiency in reading and math by 2014. In six years it has identified 9,000 of the nation’s 90,000 public schools as “in need of improvement,” the law’s term for failing, and experts predict that those numbers could multiply in coming years.
This is a potentially big deal. While Spellings is for now proposing a pilot this could move as quickly as the "value added" pilot which is now pretty much the norm. One measure of the bigness of the deal is that edblogs have already given it a jargony name: differentiated consequences.

Digest this for now; I'll be back with more later.


Jill said...

The only thing that stuck out to me in this is Spellings saying that they need triage. Having done triage at a mental health agency, I think of it as emergency action. NCLB has been in place, what, almost seven years now? I believe seven years was the number of years a school could continuously be in trouble after which it gets shut...or something? Or was that five years?

In any case, triage can always be needed, but with a program this big and this mangled, at this point? I don't think triage is what I'd say it needs.