Checker & Rick: Change NCLB's Goals
Chester E. Finn Jr. and Frederick M. Hess (aka Checker and Rick) keep saying that NCLB, as as its currently constructed, won't result in better schools. Their first point is always that the goal of universal proficiency needs to change.
The current goal is "noble but determinedly unrealistic," as Hess writes with Rosemary Kendrick in this Education Week commentary. In this piece for The Education Gadfly, Hess and Finn call the goal "noble yet naïve."
"The inevitable result is cynicism and frustration among educators and a 'compliance' mentality among state and local officials," they write.
The best course, they conclude in the Gadfly, is for the federal government to focus on specific tasks. Among them are setting "common standards" (aka "national standards") and "promot[ing] a clear understanding of what constitutes unacceptable school performance."
Just last week, President Bush restated his belief the NCLB's goal should remain. Secretary Spellings has defended the goal in recent speeches (see here and here). But Finn, Hess, and others are starting a drumbeat against it. Will they be able to change the debate in reauthorization?