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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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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 Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Did you know, for instance, that the law does not allow a sub group to drop year over year, even though such drops are within the standard deviation of the statistical results for such tests? That s but one gem to be found in this book.
There is one area where I found they were lacking. They do not address gifted children and how they are being hurt by the law. My daughter is GATE, and I have been fighting the problem of testing for years. She is always in the 99-100% and should have been moved up. Each time I complained, schools gave me various vague answers. Finally, I was taken aside and told she wouldn't be advanced to where she was challenged because the school couldn't afford to lose her top test scores. If she got to where she was challenged, her scores would drop and wouldn't help keep the school at the level it was at. I also knew of at least 10 other parents in the same trap.
So, in addition to hurting the poor and poorly performing, we are now also holding back the gifted kids. Amazing!
We are leaving droves of children behind and wasting precious fiscal and human resources teaching children how to test. Read this book and become prepared before the law causes you to have issues at your school!
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.
One important fact not understood by the general public is that "teaching to the test" which is a result of NCLB, invalidates the scores. A standardized test should show what students know in general in subject areas, yet teachers are teaching specific skills according to questions on the test, showing inflated and inaccurate scores. NAEP scores illustrate this trend; many schools with amazing growth in AYP typically show little or no growth on NAEP scores.
Furthermore, statisticians agree that the AYP mandates set by the act are if not impossible, extremely hard to accomplish. Furthermore, although a school may make sufficient progress according to aggregated data, when scores are disaggregated, some may fall into the dreaded category "needs improvement" or even worse, "corrective action".
Yet another disturbing factor is that NCLB has been deemed an unfunded mandate. Schools are required to show amazing progress, yet the funds promised to meet these goals have not been delivered. This of course sets the neediest schools up for failure.
Other issues include, but are not limited to:
1. The high stakes element: No one score or criteria should determine retention or promotion.
2. NCLB ignores social and economic issues: No school can make up for the lack of resources a child has had since birth, yet NCLB is holding teachers accountable.
3. Narrowed curriculum: With such high stakes, many schools and teachers and only teaching what will be on the test, and reverting back to skill and drill teaching.
4. Dumbing down the test: States are allowed to determine what "proficient" means, so many states are simply lowering standards and cut off scores.
5. Research based education: Although NCLB focuses on proven methods (or claims to), the act itself ignores research supported methods, such as lowering class size, negative effects of grade retention, and the fact that accountability with high stakes testing measures and do not improve teacher quality.
The book was very informative, although some of the information was repetitive. The authors also had an obvious slant, which of course was the purpose of the book. The book also offered a wealth of resources and names for further research, including websites and other documents.
However, I would like to hear proponents of NCLB discuss the issue so I can see a more complete view of the issue. At this point though, it seems hard to find anyone who still supports the law.