New York's Lake Woebegon Effect
The premise of NCLB, as of so many current education reform efforts, is that schools must serve the interests of children, not the interests of the adults who work in the system. But in a classic case of unintended consequences, the widespread test inflation produced by NCLB is serving only the interests of the adults. New York education officials like Mills, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, and his schools chancellor, Joel Klein—along with teachers’ union leaders like Randi Weingarten—advance their varied agendas in the glow of inflated test scores. But the children are the big losers. Sometime in the next decade, the white children of Lake George and the black children of New York City will come face to face with reality. On a high school math Regents test—or on an SAT test, or in a college remediation course—they will discover that they are not quite as proficient as New York State once assured them.