What do they mean No Child Left Behind is bad?

Posted in Just A Thought, Uncategorized at 12:15 pm

Last year we followed our long term plan for our kids’ education – our eldest graduated from her private school and we moved her to the very-highly-rated local high school. We knew of mutterings that No Child Left Behind was evil – stifling the creative brilliance of our teachers and making them teach a uniform curriculum. 

Not a problem we thought – eldest’s strengths are diligent work on whatever she’s asked to do (not an iota more), careful attention to presenting herself in the most attractive manner possible (much more important to later job success than technical brilliance, much to my chagrin) and the ability to organize affairs for community service or social events. Since she is not struck by the mad curiosity of middle child, a standard curriculum would not be problematic.

Little did we know. School rankings (an issue of paramount concern for keeping parents happy and property values high) are based on how well a group does when tested. Duh. 

The test taken depends on which group you are enrolled in. If you are enrolled in a AP (advanced placement) course it does not matter that your 4 out of 5 is 80% on an exam that is much harder than the normal exam; the school gets a higher ranking if you get 100% on the easier course. A bored student, or one not taught to their full capacity does not penalized the school in the rankings. 

It is completely to a school’s advantage to push children into the easiest course when they are borderline between two levels (start algebra late, honors vs. standard courses, and the gold standard – AP courses.) If your school is not allowing open enrollment into AP courses the welfare of the student may not be their first concern and may be a sign all the way down the line that they are making choices that are for their benefit rather than the child’s.

Eldest child? We moved her to a school that thinks most children are capable of honors work and she chugs along with a solid B.  It’s the same B she would have garnered in the standard courses of the top ranked public school but she works a little harder.

We’re failing the global education race.  Is it unreasonable to ask that not only should all children be educated to a minimal level but that all children be pushed to their maximum level?

Comments are closed.