Data suggest states satisfy No Child law by expecting less of students
By Ledyard King, Gannett News Service
The 2002 federal No Child Left Behind law was designed to raise education standards across the country by punishing schools that fail to make all kids proficient in math and reading.
But the law allows each state to chart its own course in meeting those objectives.
The result, according to a Gannett News Service analysis of test scores, is that many states have taken the safe route, keeping standards low and fooling parents into believing their kids are prepared for college and work.
Critics say states are more worried about creating the appearance of academic progress than in raising standards.
"Ironically, No Child reforms may have the exact opposite effect they were intended to have," said Bruce Fuller, an education and public policy professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
The GNS analysis found that relying on state test scores to judge students' performance is misleading.
Fuller's research indicates the gap between state test scores and NAEP scores has actually widened in many states since the federal law took effect.
States that don't push students to meet higher standards risk sending them into the work world unprepared — even as global competition increases. More than half of 250 employers surveyed in 2006 said high school graduates are deficient at writing in English, foreign languages and math skills.
"The future U.S. workforce is here — and it is woefully ill-prepared," concluded the report called Are They Really Ready To Work?
Read the full story here: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2007-06-06-schools-main_N.htm
Contributing: Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
NAEP by state: http://gns.gannettonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070606/GNSVIDEO50/70606002/-1/NCLB
States Get Creative in Minimizing Law's Impact: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2007-06-06-schools-states_N.htm
Can You Answer NAEP sample questions? (4th and 8th grade): http://gns.gannettonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070606/GNSVIDEO50/70606003/-1/NCLB