Education director speaks out against No Child Left Behind

Bob Schaeffer, the public education director of FairTest: National Center for Fair and Open Testing, has long critiqued No Child Left Behind.

What’s wrong with No Child Left Behind? Nearly everything. No Child Left Behind is an inside-the-Beltway, political mandate that has no relationships with the realities of classrooms. It uses arbitrary gains on low-quality multiple-choice tests as the sole factor for determining educational quality.

But part of No Child’s goals were to equalize schools and ensure that underperforming schools received attention, correct? That is a laudable goal. However, the primary assumption No Child makes is the reason schools weren’t succeeding was they weren’t trying hard enough, and their solution to that false notion was to simply raise the bar and yell harder.

In fact, most schools have seen progress by No Child’s standards — so why do you think it’s not working? What we’re seeing is test score inflation, but it’s misleading. It’s because more schools are improving at teaching to the test. Classroom education is narrowed to what’s going to be on the exam … So while scores on the state tests are going up, other tests don’t show any gains.

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