Currently, if you have a child in public education, there is only a one in four shot that he or she is not in a “failing” school, based on the standards set up by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) initiative passed by George W. Bush. And, if education isn’t addressed, that could drop to one in five.
Via the Washington Post:
More than three-quarters of the nation’s public schools could soon be labeled “failing” under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the Obama administration said Wednesday as it increased efforts to revamp the signature education initiative of President George W. Bush.
The projection from Education Secretary Arne Duncan amounted to a declaration that the school-ratings revolution Bush began nearly 10 years ago is itself in jeopardy because the law has become unworkable. President Obama is pushing to loosen accountability rules for most schools but crack down harder on the worst.
“This law is fundamentally broken, and we need to fix it, and fix it this year,” Duncan told the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “The law has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed. We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible and focused on the schools and students most at risk.”
Duncan’s estimate that 82 percent of schools could miss academic targets this year, up from 37 percent last year, was based on an Education Department analysis.
As Judy Molland wrote yesterday, President Obama has taken a renewed interest in education and the revamping of NCLB, an interest that so far has not been apparent in his support for budget initiatives that include dramatic reduction in education spending. However, his intentions to overhaul the program appear to have more to do with fixing how schools are labeled as failing than it does actually addressing the crisis in which our public schools are increasingly finding themselves.
Photo from http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html, via Wikimedia Commons