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Explore K-12 State and National Curriculum Teaching Standards history of failed reform.

Gven the lack of ability to affect pricing, the only way a for-profit charter operator makes money is to spend less per child. American citizens should not stand for that.


The No Child Left Behind Act 4/13/06
NCLB - C-SPAN - No longer works --

American Enterprise Institute hosted a controlled, polite, dog and pony show that should have been made available as a video podcast but that is just too much to expect from education officials, examples of all the education officials left behind.
The No Child Left Behind Act by the American Enterprise Institute - Washington, District of Columbia (United States)


September 18, 2006
To members of the Aspen Institute's Commission on No Child Left Behind
My name is Marion Brady, and I live in Cocoa, Florida. 


I've spent the last seventy-four years in education as a student, high school teacher, college professor, county-level administrator, publisher consultant, writer of journal articles, textbooks, professional books and newspaper columns, and visitor to classrooms across America and abroad.
You may or may not be surprised to hear me say that No Child Left Behind is an educational train wreck..
I'm no defender of pre-NCLB public education.  When the legislation took shape, although the education train was still on the track, it was barely moving.  What it had going for it was mostly potential.  Thoughtful educators were pointing out that General Systems Theory as it had emerged from World War II, and research clarifying how the brain organizes information, could, together, move student intellectual performance to levels not previously thought possible.  The train was creeping, but it was going in the right direction.
The unduly alarmist 1983 publication of “A Nation At Risk” stopped it cold.  Fearful leaders of business and industry pushed educators aside, took control of “reform” and, working through politicians, set the train in motion.  Backwards.  Really fast. A wreck was inevitable.  Picking through the present pileup as it settles into place, questions for those now in charge arise: CONTINUE




Official NCLB site.
Three days after taking office in January 2001 as the 43rd President  of the United States, George W. Bush announced No Child Left Behind,  his framework for bipartisan education reform that he described as  "the cornerstone of my Administration." President Bush emphasized his  deep belief in our public schools, but an even greater concern that  "too many of our neediest children are being left behind," despite  the nearly $200 billion in Federal spending since the passage of the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The President  called for bipartisan solutions based on accountability, choice, and  flexibility in Federal education programs.
Less than a year later, despite the unprecedented challenges of  engineering an economic recovery while leading the Nation in the war  on terrorism following the events of September 11, President Bush  secured passage of the landmark No Child Left Behind Act of 2001  (NCLB Act). The new law reflects a remarkable consensus-first  articulated in the President's No Child Left Behind framework-on how  to improve the performance of America's elementary and secondary  schools while at the same time ensuring that no child is trapped in a  failing school.

Signed into Law

Stanford Alumni Magazine asked two experts for their perspectives on school reform and NCLB testing and accountability policies. Terry Moe says that a consensus of policymakers believes that public schools are not delivering the goods. Why are our public schools so difficult to improve? The answer, he says, rests with two fundamental problems that stand in the way of progress. The first is a problem of incentives. The second is a problem of power. The education system is literally not organized to be effective, yet it can only be reformed through politics, and political power is stacked in favor of employee groups that staunchly defend traditional arrangements. Gerald W. Bracey writes that Americans uncritically accept gloomy statistics about their public schools. He writes that NCLB is to education as Katrina was to New Orleans. He never believed that this law is the idealistic, well-intentioned but poorly executed program that many claim it to be. NCLB aims to shrink the public sector, transfer large sums of public money to the private sector, weaken or destroy two Democratic power bases -- the teachers unions -- and provide vouchers to let students attend private schools at public expense.

NCLB: State and Local Report Cards
outline the information and data that state education agencies are required to disseminate as required by No Child Left Behind.

2007 NCLB PUBLIC DEBATE Ask the Office of Communications and Outreach any questions:Director, Intergovernmental Affairs -- Rogers Johnson, (202) 401-0026,
Deputy Director -- Marcie Ridgway, (202) 401-6359,
Program Analyst -- Adam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003,

Nearly two-thirds of American adults want Congress to re-write or outright abolish the landmark No Child Left Behind Act that mandates nationwide testing of elementary students to determine if public schools are performing adequately. Opposition is especially high among people most familiar with the law, according to a survey of 1,010 adults. Controversy about the law has grown in recent months as Congress begins the debate on whether to re-authorize the measure that President Bush has touted is one of the most important achievements of his administration.  Dissent against reauthorization has developed within President Bushs own party. Fifty-two Republican House members and five GOP senators are calling for a repeal of the law in favor of a more flexible system of achievement standards to be negotiated between the U.S. Department of Education and individual states. Only about a third of poll respondents said they think the law has had a positive influence on public education while slightly less than half said it has had a negative impact and a fifth were undecided.     
Ask the Office of Communications and Outreach with any questions:
Director, Intergovernmental Affairs -- Rogers Johnson, (202) 401-0026,
Deputy Director -- Marcie Ridgway, (202) 401-6359,
Program Analyst -- Adam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003,

2007 The Education Research $ Gravy Train questioned!!
More than five years after President Bush's No Child Left Behind law told educators to rely on "scientifically based" methods, the science produced is often inconclusive, politically charged or less than useful for classroom teachers. And when it is useful, it often is misused or ignored altogether, reports Greg Toppo in USA TODAY. As the 88th annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) takes place this week in Chicago, critics say the USA's huge community of education researchers -- 14,000 are attending -- often studies topics that do little to help schools solve practical problems such as how to train teachers, how to raise skills, how to lower dropout rates and whether smaller classes really make a difference. Others defend AERA's work and that of researchers in general but say the patchwork system of public schools makes it hard even for relevant research to reach the classroom.

A loophole in the No Child Left Behind Act not mentioned:

June 15, 2010 The Great Accountability Hoax
Our "accountability" policies are a great fraud and hoax, instead of better education, we are getting cheating scandals, teaching to bad tests, a narrowed curriculum, lowered standards, and gaming of the system. Even if it produces higher test scores (of dubious validity), high-stakes accountability does not produce better education. In their eagerness to show "results," states are dumbing down their standards. The New York state education department dropped cut scores on the state tests from 2006 (the year that annual testing in grades 3-8 was introduced) to 2009. In 2006, a student in 7th grade could achieve "proficiency" by getting 59.6 percent of the points correct on the state math test; by 2009, a student in the same grade needed only 44 percent of the available points. Back in the pre-accountability days, a score of 60 percent would have been a D, not a mark of proficiency, and a score of 44 percent would have been a failing grade. According to a report by The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the gains registered in the elementary schools of Chicago during Arne Duncan's tenure were almost entirely the result of changes to the scoring of the tests, rather than evidence of any genuine improvement in student learning. When gains are manufactured in these ways, children are cheated. Children who need extra help don't get it, but adults trade high-fives for their "success" in raising scores and enjoy the adulation of the media.

Alan Haskvitz"Only one tenth of the 76.7 million school children attend private school which means that public school performance will continue to be a leading indicator of real estate values.
I encourage you to take a long look at NCLB and decide if you should be involved in supporting it or changing it or eliminating it. There is a lot, literally and figuratively, at stake here both for your children and your finances. And, of course, as more parents think they can avoid public school problems by going to private schools remember the supply and demand lessons from your first economics class and note that those tuitions have increased steadily. You might also seek to find out what you are getting for your money. For example, a very expensive private school in California charges $25,000 a year for day students. Despite this high fee the school's website reports that the just over 80 percent received 3 or better on their AP exams even with class sizes well under 20. As a comparison at least one public high school in the Seattle area district had 89 percent score 3 or better on AP tests and many other public schools report superior scores. In the district I teach in one school did better in the AP calculus test than any other school in the world. So it is essential that parents do no associate expensive schools with high test scores." source

About BONNIE BRACEY SUTTON See the Complete  List of her Essays

America's High Schools Are Obsolete - Bill Gates 2005 By obsolete, I don't just mean that our high schools are broken, flawed, and under-funded though a case could be made for every one of those points. By obsolete, I mean that our high schools even when they're working exactly as designed cannot teach our kids what they need to know today.

President Barack Obama

8/12/09 From Education Week [American Education's Newspaper of Record],, Volume 28, Issue 37, pp. 28-29.  See COMMENTARY Replacing No Child Left Behind
By Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute, a former national education columnist for The New York Times, and the author of Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right (2008). He is a member of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education Task

While promoting health-care reform this summer in Green Bay, Wis., President Barack Obama took questions from the audience. One had nothing to do with health, but is on the minds of parents and teachers everywhere: How do we move the focus in education "away from single-day testing and test-driven outcomes?" There was applause.
Mr. Obama responded by saying that if all we are doing is giving standardized tests and teaching to them, "that's not improving our education system." (Again, the audience applauded.) He repeated an aphorism he'd heard in rural Illinois: "Just weighing a pig doesn't fatten it." (Yet more applause.)
The president then said that we need standardized testing, but that we can't hold schools or teachers accountable for scores alone. We also must look at the quality of students' ongoing work, and observe teachers in their classrooms to make valid judgments about their effectiveness.
This approach undermines the basis of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which now holds schools accountable only for math and reading scores. But recent Washington policy talk seems mostly concerned with improving the accuracy of math and reading tests. One common panacea offered is to compare scores of the same students from one year to the next, rather than comparing students in the same grade in successive years.
Yet even if the statistical technology for such "value added" growth models could be developed (a big "if," given student mobility, the unreliability of a single test, and the nonrandom assignment of students to teachers), this "improvement" would not address the more fundamental issue the president raised: There's more to good education than math and reading scores.
Last year, candidate Obama elaborated this theme. He said that No Child Left Behind was "intended to raise standards in local schools." But what happened, he said, was that, "because it relied on just a single standardized test, schools felt pressured to just teach to the test." In many districts, Mr. Obama maintained, teachers and principals have decided that if they are to bring their students up to the proficient level, "all they can do is just study math and reading every day, all day long. They've eliminated recess, they've eliminated art and music."
"So part of the solution," Mr. Obama concluded, "is changing No Child Left Behind, so that the assessment is one that takes into account all the factors that go into a good education."

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, of which NCLB is the current version, has stalled because too few policymakers have considered how to implement the balanced approach that Mr. Obama has consistently invoked. Instead, mention of reauthorization paralyzes lawmakers, who fear public reaction to more testing, more narrowing of curriculum, and unrealistic expectations that schools can raise disadvantaged children's achievement simply by pressing them to prepare better for tests.
Soon after the president's Green Bay speech, the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education  campaign issued recommendations about how this vision-holding schools accountable for a balanced set of learning goals-could be put into practice. The policy proposals were drafted by a diverse committee that included, among others, former assistant secretaries of education in the Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II administrations.
The BBA report insists that designing better accountability will require experimentation. States will need highly trained inspectors [????? who are they?]who look at test data, but also visit schools to review students' written work, observe teaching quality, evaluate student behavior and the school climate, and determine whether schools provide appropriate social supports for children, by coordinating with health and social service providers and striving to ensure that appropriate early-childhood and after-school programs are available.
Along with requiring states to develop qualitative school evaluation systems, reauthorization should also expand the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federal test given to a sample of U.S. students. At present, these samples are only large enough to provide state-by-state results in reading and math. A recent arts assessment, for example, surveyed so few students that we can't know how arts education compares between states, or the extent to which disadvantaged children in the various states are getting shortchanged in the arts. Congress should increase the sample sizes to determine how states and their subgroups compare in the arts, history, sciences, physical fitness, and work skills.
In its early years, NAEP reported on such varied school outcomes. Since the 1970s, however, the focus has been on getting more sophisticated math and reading measurements, reinforcing schools' incentives to ignore other knowledge and skills.
As part of his embrace of common standards, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has pledged to give states $350 million of economic-stimulus money to improve the quality of math and reading tests. We all want better math and reading assessments. But we should also invest in better tests of history, sciences, and the arts, and develop tools to evaluate student behavior, judge a school's disciplinary climate, see whether students know how to cooperate, and measure whether schools are enhancing physical fitness and appropriate health choices and habits.
The federal government should hold all schools accountable for such a balanced approach-especially if the president wants continued applause when answering questions about education improvement.  

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