From Publishers Weekly
In this slim but impassioned manifesto, the founding members of an education think tank argue that the controversial and underfunded No Child Left Behind Act, as currently implemented, is "more likely to undermine…the nation's public education system than to improve it." The first section delineates the "baffling" and unfortunate consequences (e.g., cutting kindergarten nap time and middle school recess) of needing more time to prepare for mandated high-stakes tests. The second section looks outside the classroom at gaps in school spending, public involvement (participation on school boards has dropped from one citizen in 500 to one in 20,000) and student health (black children in Detroit, for example, are 16 times more likely to be overexposed to lead than are their white counterparts). As Alfie Kohn (Punished by Rewards
) argues, built-in negative consequences make NCLB "a stalking horse for privatization." In the third section, Monty Neil, executive director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, offers alternative plans that place accountability more firmly on the shoulders of the state than on the test performance of the child. Though occasionally repetitive, this book is a clarion call for a public education that serves all children well and a reminder that our functioning democracy is at stake.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Two years after implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA), the controversial school-reform policy of the Bush administration, prominent educators weigh in on the effects of the policy and alternative ideas for achieving educational reform. Contributors question whether NCLBA is as much about reforming education as dismantling support for public education. Part 1 examines the effects of NCLBA on schools, and part 2 examines the law in the broader context of earlier pledges to erase educational opportunities legislation, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Writers criticize the heavy reliance on standardized tests to measure achievement and the failure to financially support efforts for improvement, explore principles that should guide school reform other than "test-and-punish," and examine school reform in the broader spectrum of the civil rights agenda. Contributors are founding members of the Forum for Education and Democracy, a nonprofit think tank. This is a valuable and insightful look at the most sweeping school-reform policy in 35 years. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved