Here's one more example, in a list that is growing faster than a plague in a petri dish, of why No Child Left Behind continues to fail American schools and American children.First, the link Bell Work provides is behind the EdWeek registration, so here is a free link.Second, the analysis is so full of holes it is hard to know where to begin.
The schools in New Orleans are in trouble. They have poor attendance rates and high failure and dropout rates. So, in an effort to meet state minimum requirements, set forth under NCLB, the powers that be have decided that the best idea is to offer bonuses of $3,000 for teachers and $5,000 for principals, when their students meet minimum standards.
Children are failing, staying home or dropping out, and the best answer these non-educators can come up with is to offer bonus pay to anyone who can get these troubled kids to do anything short of staying home.
This is the type of ingenuity that NCLB spawns.
Additional funds could be used for innovative after-school tutoring and extra-curriculars. New resources for instruction could liven up the classroom, engaging students in learning. Money could be given to create a sense of community at school. These are just a few examples of how government funds could be effectively used to improve these recovery schools.
Instead, New Orleans gets bonus pay — teachers teaching less for more money.
One can scour the entire article and find no mention of No Child Left Behind. While, admittedly, the absence of a mention of the law does not mean it is unrelated, it seems a stretch to say that No Child Left Behind is the reason why these bonuses are being considered. The article does mention that that bonuses will be paid to schools operated by the Recovery School District, which manages the most difficult schools in the state and that the bonuses would be paid to meet certain objective goals. Arguably those objective goals are formulated in response to NCLB, but we don't know that for sure. States had performance standards before NCLB.
It seems ludicrous in the extreme to complain about a program designed to help teachers help students. Could the money be put to other uses, like "innovative after-school tutoring and extra-curriculars. New resources for instruction could liven up the classroom, engaging students in learning. Money could be given to create a sense of community at school." Sure it could, but what good is after-school tutoring or an enlivened classroom or engaged students if the students aren't in the classroom in the first place. Bell Work Online admitted early that the Recovery School District has attendance and drop out problems, will a "lively" classroom really solve that problem? Would not a bonus make the one person who can truly enliven a classroom (the teacher) more likely to make such an effort. A sense of community does not educate a child, a teacher does. Giving more money to teachers helps keep them in the classroom rather than seeking employment elsewhere.
What BWO has done is taken a strawman they don't like (NCLB) and lays the blame for a program they don't like (bonus) and conflates the and do so poorly.
Frankly, if a teacher is incentivized by additional pay to get the students in a classroom and learn something, I am not seeing the downside here. Everyone wins.