Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Spellings Report: Crowing Over NCLB

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is very happy about the just-released National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Long-Term Trends in Academic Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card. This is based upon the exact same test in reading and math that has been given for 30 years. According to Spellings, it's "proof" that the No Child Left Behind Act is working:
The results from the newest Report Card are in and the news is outstanding. Three years ago, our country made a commitment that no child would be left behind. Today's Report Card is proof that No Child Left Behind is working-it is helping to raise the achievement of young students of every race and from every type of family background. And the achievement gap that has persisted for decades in the younger years between minorities and whites has shrunk to its smallest size in history.

More than half of the progress in reading for 9-year olds during the Report Card's entire history has been made in the last five years. It is not a coincidence that progress accelerated so dramatically during this time period. The results are a tribute to students, teachers, parents, principals, school administrators, and state and national policymakers.

So I am pleased with today's results, but in no way completely satisfied. We are at the beginning of the journey and certainly have room for improvement, particularly at the high school level. We must support older students with the same can-do attitude that helped their younger brothers and sisters.

Changing the direction of America's schools is like turning the Queen Mary, a large ship whose captain can't change course on a dime. The goal requires a lot of time and effort, but we are beginning to turn our own Queen Mary around. I know we can continue to do it together-teachers, principals, parents-so that all children receive the quality education a nation such as ours is capable of providing.
Read the Nation's Report Card for yourself right here.

Now that the Secretary is positively gushing over these results, maybe she'll remember to try to do something about the chronically low morale of the nation's teaching corps. She can start by advocating a nation-wide maximum of 25 students per public school classroom and giving teachers salary increases that at least keep up with inflation.

Prediction: No monies or legislation for smaller class-sizes or increased salaries, but Educators will get a little verbal praise, and then be told to work harder.

, Joanne Jacobs, Education Gadfly, Number 2 Pencil

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