Friday, May 27, 2011

Takeaways from Diane Ravitch's HDNet Interview: NCLB Is a Disaster

Diane Ravitch recently was interviewed by Dan Rather on HDNet. During that interview, she emphasized several things the public needs to know about the current state of public schools.

  • "No Child Left Behind has set our public schools on the road to destruction." I have often wondered if the true motivation behind that legislation was to simply make sure schools fail so that arguments for privatization would be stronger. Perhaps that's not the true intent of the law, but it has been the result.
  • No Child Left Behind, with its tremendous emphasis on testing, has not succeeded in teaching anybody anything. It has turned schools into test-prep centers, where the only thing that matters is the scores. The scores even matter more than the students.
  • Tests should not be used to make high stakes decisions. Our politicians around the country are doing just that. Florida is basing whether a student is promoted on "the test." Many more states have adopted merit pay schemes and tenure schemes that are tied to testing. It would seem that politicians have more faith in these tests than the ones who give them every year.
Check out Diane Ravitch's interview below.

No Child Left Behind has been a disaster. Those of us who have worked in schools that received the infamous label of "AYP-Not Met" know first hand how all focus turns to "the test." Students are asked to give up electives such as art or music so they can attend "one more tutoring session." It really is sad that we do that  to our kids.

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