What’s Going on With No Child Left Behind?

Over at The Nation, I assess the Obama administration's new "waiver process:"

A more progressive rethinking of NCLB might have allowed students to transfer out of their home school districts to integrated, higher-performing suburban schools: We know from the experiences of Milwaukee, Seattle, and Hartford that when such programs are available, they are extremely popular among low-income families and lead to improved academic outcomes.

On curriculum, it would have been worthwhile to encourage states to scale-up programs that introduce teenagers–in an academecially rigorous way–to potential occupations, since we know one of the best ways to fight drop-outs is to demonstrate to kids that education is relevant to their futures. 

But the Obama administration remains committed to a narrower slate of reforms focused on curriculum standardization and value-added evaluation of teachers.

I'll be discussing this with David Sirota on Colorado radio this afternoon around 4:05 EST. 

One thought on “What’s Going on With No Child Left Behind?

  1. John Thompson

    You linked to your piece that referred to Booker T. Washington and WEB DuBois. When I discuss with my students the tension between the Washington versus the DuBois traditions, I do not mandate that they agree with me.
    Creating alternative pathways for noncollege-bound teens is scarey to me. But who decides? Do we not owe teens and the families the option of choosing high-quality vocational education?

    On the contrary, why would the Obama administration want to deny students choices not included in their narrow policy? With everything that’s on the President’s mind, he clearly doesn’t have time to think these issues through in depth. Why would he want to force the entire nation down such a narrow path – with a roadmap that he clearly hasn’t thought through.


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