Thursday, October 04, 2007

Deja Vu All Over Again

Diane Ravitch writes:
No Child Left Behind can, however, be salvaged if policymakers recognize that they need to reverse the roles of the federal government and the states. In our federal system, each level of government should do what it does best. The federal government is good at collecting and disseminating information. The states and school districts, being closer to the schools, teachers and parents than the federal government, are more likely to be flexible and pragmatic about designing reforms to meet the needs of particular schools...Under current law, Congress now decides precisely which sanctions and penalties are needed to reform schools, which is way beyond its competence. The leaders of the House and Senate Education Committees are fine men, but they do not know how to fix the nation’s schools.

The obvious solution is to reverse roles. Washington should supply unbiased information about student academic performance to states and local districts. It should then be the responsibility of states and local districts to improve performance.
In my best Keanu Reeves impression: Whoa! That sounds familiar. Ravitch also suggests dumping the 100 percent proficiency goal as unattainable.

We all know it is unattainable, but if 100 percent is unattainable, where do we draw the line for acceptability? Should it be 90 percent, 95 percent, 99 percent or something else. And if we draw the line somewhere else, how do we as a nation explain why some percetntage of children will get left behind. I know we have to be pragmaticly, but can't we also hold up some ideal as a target as well?

Hat Tip

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