In One Eye

Wednesday, July 02, 2003
 
Some preliminary effects of "No Child Left Untested."
State officials warned eight public high schools Tuesday that they are the first in the state failing to meet President Bush's new school accountability standards.

Those schools, along with eight elementary and middle schools that were identified earlier, are the first of many public schools expected to be singled out for improvement under the government's No Child Left Behind Act ...

As early as January, some of the high schools on Tuesday's list could be required to allow students to transfer elsewhere if the schools do not show adequate improvement on a 10th-grade test.
This is such a ludicrous situation for at least two reasons.

First, "[Reginald] Mayo [New Haven Superintendent of Schools] said no one can disagree with the federal law's goal of improving schools, but he questioned the wisdom of identifying schools on the basis of one test score."

And so do I. If the CAPT is used as the barometer of success, then the program perforce fails. Like all standardized tests, the only correlative having to do with success is family income. It's no surprise that all of the high schools cited are urban schools.

Second, the program will also have no practical effect if the goal is to allow students to leave schools that "fail." The students at these schools have nowhere else to go. They're not going to drive to West Hartford and the state certainly has no money to bus them there.

The whole program is symptomatic of the Bushies' shortsightedness. It is yet another program where they got their agenda in place, and then--without any additional planning or aid--went off to poke their noses in another area attractive to their ideology.

To demonstrate this, one need only look at the following situation:
In New Haven, the Hyde Leadership School, a popular voluntary magnet program of about 200 students, was cited even though it has a low dropout rate and is sending all of its 41 graduates this year on to college, said ... Mayo ...

"I'm very proud of Hyde," Mayo said of the school, which stresses character development. "For that school to be on the list ... seems kind of tough. ... They do a wonderful job of turning kids around in terms of leadership."
If Hyde is being identified as failing, then the program is really in trouble, since Hyde is exactly the kind of school that students from those "failing" schools would--and should--gravitate to.

The identification of a successful magnet school such as Hyde as "failing" really shows that it's the program that is failing.