Home
Loading
  Contact Us    
Sort 421, A Positive Sign

For those children left behind

by Dear Jon
March 16, 2010

Bookmark and Share
Sort 421, A Positive Sign

Newspapers over the week-end printed stories on President Obama's push to revamp the federal government's involvement in public education. It amounts to rescinding No Child Left Behind, one of the dumbest laws ever composed, which required 100% of children in a school to perform at grade standard (as measured in annual computerized examinations) in order for that school to receive federal aid.

Practiced in the art of wiggle room, of course, our President did not refer to scrapping the law outright, but instead of revising and revamping. However, he hopes the bill he endorses can come up with a new name. Read between the lines.

This is a much more important effort, and much more achievable, than the required health insurance (bad idea)/public option (might be workable COBRA-style)/taxes pay for abortions (are you kidding me?) law. However, the vision for repealing No Child Left Behind was third page news in the papers I read.

President Obama still seems to think, and newspapers still seem to agree, that he was elected to advance his agenda. In fact the independent voters who propelled him to power are ambivolent to most of it. What we want is peace, a refurbished global image (everywhere except in Gaza, where we couldn't give a rip what they think since they think that electing a Hamas government is a good idea), and a return to the kind of fiscal common sense that characterized the centrist Clinton Administration. Repealing No Child Left Behind is a step in the direction of common sense. It is doubtful that anything coming up to replace it will make things worse in the sphere of public education.

The past two to three years have been a nightmare for public schools. To begin with, the pressure of the NCLB's steepening standards led to whole-sale firings of school staff and administration. Experienced principals and deans have borne the brunt in my area, as the ones most exposed politically by the law and its measurements. Meanwhile the increasing levels of unemployment combined with the equity crash in housing has caused tax bases throughout the nation to erode. Districts are reducing staff, cutting enrichments and services and increasing class sizes, all of which run counter to the trends that bring improvement in student performance. In Kansas City, nearly half of schools will be moth-balled, according to widely-reported accounts from a week earlier.

I am hoping that the President's leadership on this matter is brought about by the patent absurdity of expecting every special needs child and every English as-a-third-language pupil to be conforming to college entrance standards by 2014. Whatever the President thinks, the timing for repeal is right. Administrators, bureacrats and law-makers across the spectrum are now realizing that with the cuts they have to make, efforts to achieve NCLB standards are impractical. Right. Like NCLB would have worked before but now things have changed. Sure.

What concerns me is that underneath the coming repeal is this idea: Rescind the law because we're all broke, and let the kids suffer in classrooms where 35 are packed in for every teacher. But the teachers will put up with whatever, because they are the ones lucky enough to have tenure.

I do not blame the teachers in any of this, and I never have. I feel lucky to have a job right now, too.

Some deeper questions need to be asked, but I do not expect President Obama to be the one to ask them.  Are district-oriented revenue schemes based on property taxes really the right way to fund a public education? If jurisdiction should be re-assessed, how far does that reach? What, if any, is the federal government's proper role? What can we learn from achievement models in other countries, and when we learn from them, what lumps of humility and compromise will I need to swallow as one with a Libertarian bent? Those of us who associate school spirit with the tradition of marching bands, baton twirlers, and sports trophies, will we learn from other nations that not every college-prep high school needs its own football team and live stage theatre, and that some programs and facilities are better organized by park districts and towns?

Tough choices in public education still lie ahead. But at least some dumb ones are about to be revoked.

 

Comments (1)


Post a Comment

James Leroy Wilson from Independent Country writes:
March 19, 2010
You might like to go to You Tube and search "Tom Chapin" and "Not on the Test."

The fact that it might be the only song about No Child Left Behind doesn't take away from the fact that it's the greatest song about No Child Left Behind.

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*


Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Location:


Comments:*
Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.



Verification:
Please type the letters you see above.

  Printer-Friendly

Bookmark and Share


PO BOOKS BY DEAR JON
Dear Jon Letters: Tips for Dating and Mating
Temporarily Unavailable
Published July 21, 2008

Our advice humorist turns his attention and trademark wit to affairs of the heart in his first and very affordable book (only $8.95!).

More Information
RSS FEED
RSS Feed for Dear Jon: RSS Feed for Dear Jon
EMAIL ALERTS
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Dear Jon
Sort 433: Going on Sabbatical
Miss Me? Let me know!
by Dear Jon, 6/15/10
Sort 432: Jokes and Horse Names
and other Random One Liners
by Dear Jon, 6/8/10
Sort 431: Piggy Tossing
and the new touring show: "Lord of the Flies."
by Dear Jon, 6/1/10
Sort 430: Forwarding Fear
Spam with a side of mashed logic
by Dear Jon, 5/25/10
Sort 429, Mixing Oil and Water
is like mixing politics and humor. All you get is a sticky mess and a lot of upset environmentalists.
by Dear Jon, 5/18/10
Sort 428: Handling the Truth
And other lessons for cable channels
by Dear Jon, 5/11/10
Sort 427: Dear Jon Knew When to Shut Up
Finally
by Dear Jon, 5/4/10
» Complete List (462)


RSS FEED
RSS Feed for Dear Jon: RSS Feed for Dear Jon

Recently Published
View Article May I Be Frank, Mr. President?
Challenging a double standard in the Oval Office
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/15/17
Salvator Mundi
Not the painting but the Person
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/7/17
When the Newsman Becomes News
Lamenting yet another fallen hero
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/1/17
Let's Hear It for Moms and Pops
Celebrating Small Business Saturday in a very personal way
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/22/17
An Earthquake in La La Land
Examining what's been exposed in the rubble
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/17/17
Where is God?
Reflecting on the tragedy in a little Texas town
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/10/17
An All Saints Day Tribute
Remembering those who left us
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/3/17

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.


RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?
Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2017 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top