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Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act Is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools Paperback – September 29, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 1 edition (September 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807004596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807004593
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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 Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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This is a teacher whose test scores were actually quite good.
K. Henderson
We need to get angry about the No Child Left Behind Act and this book will get anyone who reads it angry.
School Social Worker
It has a great range of different points of view which is important to remember while reading this book.
C. Baus

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Paul Lappen VINE VOICE on July 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
The nationwide No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act is the latest attempt to reform American education. It is supposed to do this through enforcing a system of standards and accountability through standardized testing. According to the authors in this book, NCLB actually hurts, instead of helps, children, especially urban children.

The biggest problem is that NCLB has been underfunded, by anywhere up to $12 billion. The states have all sorts of new federal mandates, but not enough money to pay for them. Standardized tests are valuable as a measure of a student's progress, but they should not be the only measure, which is the case with NCLB. Portions of the school curriculum that don't directly deal with testing, like art, phys ed and field trips, will be dropped, as schools become little more than test-prep factories.

A school can be classified as Failing if even one subgroup in the school, like Asains or disabled students, don't do well enough on the test. The school must then pay to bus its students who want to transfer to a non-failing school. If it is an inner-city school, their resources are already thin enough. There probably aren't any non-failing schools nearby, and besides, they have no incentive to accept students who might bring down their test scores. Urban schools, and urban communities in general, need a lot more help than to be told, "Raise your test scores, or else." Many schools have gotten in the habit of making students repeat a grade, raising the chance that they will eventually drop out, only because they might negatively affect the test score for the upper grade.

The most well-known non-education provision in NCLB forces schools to give student contact information to military recruiters, or face a cutoff of federal aid.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By K. Henderson on April 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
What is a well-educated child?

Is it one that can bubble in correct answers on a skills based test? Is life "multiple choice?"

Don't read this book if you don't want to become incredibly angry about what the NCLB is doing to our children. In an attempt to further the agenda that public schools are failing children, NCLB mandates (without adequate funding) are making teachers focus on basic skills to the detriment of higher level thinking. Teachers are being forced to focus so much on "drill and kill," students are hating school at an early age. Then, if schools don't perform adequately, they are punished and lose funding. If schools perform too well, they are scrutinized and suspected of cheating. As all of the powers that be argue over test results, children are the losers.

School districts are giving up such "fringe benefits" as recess, P.E., music, art, and performing arts, to make more time for worksheets. There is nothing for the soul anymore. Take a moment and reflect on one of your most positive memories as a child in school. Are YOU thinking of a worksheet? A test?

If your child is hating school, you have great cause to worry. Children that do poorly on standardized tests are considered for retention, after school programs, and other "interventions" that will make them hate it more. The testing only gets worse as they get older. Threatened with the possibility that they won't pass the tests for high school, many children give up and drop out. Then, your child really will have been left behind.

If you are wondering why your child doesn't love learning, and how come they feel like they are never working hard enough, you need to find out more about NCLB. This book is a great start!

While it is obvious that Melissa J.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mary K. Bramble on February 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a teacher at a small rural school. The horrors of the way this law is implemented is far-reaching, even to our area of strong local control. The NCLB law is going to do the opposite of what it's well-intentioned (hopefully) authors wanted - destroy public education and create a wider chasm between the haves and have-nots. All good teachers know that this law leaves very little time or energy to teach the way we know REALLY attends to the development of children and is forcing the best teachers to consider leaving the profession. Many of us won't because we care about the kids so much.

This book, written by true experts in the field of educational research, explains so beautifully the reasons why the law is no good for our schools, and like the child in the EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES it tells the truth and screams to be heard. Somebody...PLEASE...send a copy to Mr. Bush.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By B. Wood on April 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
Honestly, I really, really wanted to like this book. But after reading through it twice, I just couldn't.

First, the book is not quite what it is advertised to be. In the description above, you will see that it is listed as 152 pages. It isn't. It is 132 pages, and if you remove the endnotes and author biographies it is only 119. But, to be fair, that is a very small point.

My main concern with this book is that the same small set of concerns is repeated over and over. I have no doubt about the quality and standing of the authors; the problem seems to be that each author is able to explain their point so clearly that having it repeated does little to add to the argument.

If you do buy this book, skip straight to pages 102-104. In this short summary, you will be given a very brief overview of everything that has gone before. True, you will not get the detail, nor the reasoning. But it will give you basis enough to move on from there.

I have nothing against either the authors, nor the message of this book. I just think that the editors have taken a series of excellent, but similar, journal articles and printed them one after another. And maybe, this time, they would have been better served by having one powerful article with a long list of qualified authors.
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