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Signs of NCLB's Success May Be Fickle


When the NAEP scores released this week showed that achievement inched up in big cities, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said in a statement that they showed that "NCLB is working." She said the same thing—word for word—when state-by-state results came out in September.

Then and now, critics have questioned her use of the data. The point-counterpoint has been going on for two years.

Spellings’ strategy is probably a good one, even if it is a bit repetitive. But will it hold in the long run? Let’s say two years from now NAEP scores go down or even level off. Wouldn’t an education secretary working for a president who campaigned against the law* cite that as evidence the NCLB isn’t working?

Where would NCLB be then? Even if Congress manages to reauthorize the law in the next year, a new president could point to a slide in NAEP scores as a reason to re-open the debate and press for significant changes.

* For those of you just joining us, most of the current presidential field has had unkind things to say about NCLB. Even the candidates who like the idea of accountability say NCLB “isn’t working” or promise to reform it.

UPDATE: I have added a link to FairTest's statement on the urban district's NAEP scores. It's in the second paragraph on the word "now."


Kennedy (Senate) and Miller (House) already have amendments in place for what they'd like in the new edition of ESEA. NCLB's reauthorization will happen, but not until Bush has left office. He's alienated too many parties over the past seven years (Iraq, WMD's, Katrina, federal appointments, torture, 9/11, etc., etc.) for anyone to even entertain the idea of allowing him to exit with a domestic success from NCLB as a feather in his cap.

Anything works if you use it.

The law needs tweaking that is true

of all the laws we have had addressing

the terms of the ESEA Title's, NCLB has had some

very good language.

but it appears that basically most

states don't want to be held accountable

and that is sad because we as public

citizens are acountable for how we spend

our earnings, yet education dollars are

virtually un monitored. So yeah

continue the dia log but know that we

are short changing ourselves if we do NOT

look seriously at how we hold states

and school districts accountable for

how we continue to fund failure.

Just my opnion.

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Recent Comments

  • Anonymous: Anything works if you use it. The law needs tweaking read more
  • Paul Hoss: Kennedy (Senate) and Miller (House) already have amendments in place read more



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