Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Maranto Rant

A not-particularly-enlightening op-ed on NCLB by charter advocate/researcher Bob Maranto appeared in today's Hartford Courant. He provides a simplistic analysis of why educators hate the law. His second and third reasons are that teachers don't want to be held accountable for their work, he says, and they don't really believe poor and minority students can learn.

First of all, I haven't done the kind of extensive survey of educators that Maranto describes in his column, but I would be willing to bet that if he'd surveyed teachers and principals instead of just education officials, he'd get a pretty high approval rate for NCLB. Based on my informal discussions with teachers, no one is opposed to shining the light on schools that do not adequately serve poor and minority students.

But Maranto's primary reason that educators hate NCLB is that they don't understand the law. That I can believe. Most people in the U.S. don't understand the law -- they simply associate it with a Republican administration that they either respect or despise.

And maybe I don't really understand NCLB! Maranto says:
For example, NCLB does NOT require all students to achieve at high levels - as one local school superintendent who had never read the law told me. NCLB merely requires that all groups show substantial progress before the law expires in 2008.
I know NCLB doesn't require that all students achieve at high levels -- it just requires that they achieve proficiency. But is it true that the law only requires subgroups to show "progress?" If that were true, do you think there would be the uproar we've seen so far?

Am I missing something here?

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