Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Contradictions Of NCLB: Part II 

The problems with the law go beyond the fact that it is inconsistent with the President's support of limited government and the ownership society. It also has some unintended consequences, which could have been anticipated from the beginning. Namely lying. Mr. Uzzell explains:

About one-third of students who enter high school fail to graduate. Under NCLB the states are supposed to provide detailed reports on graduation rates; without that information it is impossible to know whether increases in a school's test score averages represent real improvement or merely an increase in the number of dropouts of youngsters who would have performed poorly if they had taken the tests. But the Education Trust has found that most states have significantly overstated their graduation rates. North Carolina, for example, claimed a graduation rate of 92.4 percent; an independent study found the true rate to be 63 percent. In response to such flouting of its own law, the federal Department of Education has been essentially passive.

Similarly, the state education agencies have found it easy to avoid providing honest reports about which schools are unsafe for students. Though NCLB ostensibly requires the states to identify those schools that are "persistently dangerous," only three admit to having any such schools. The others want us to believe that the most dysfunctional, crime-ridden parts of cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington do not have even one unsafe school. Whether or not the state bureaucrats actually believe that claim themselves, their federal counterparts have not publicly challenged it.
Maybe state agencies thought the question was to report safe schools?

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