Home Improvement, NCLB Edition
At Slate, the University of Virginia's Jim Ryan offers a brilliant plan to fix No Child Left Behind. Why so brilliant? Well, he agrees with us; his to-do list looks a lot like ours:
My favorite part is his smart description of the problem we identified in The Proficiency Illusion:
Schools must show annual improvements on test scores or face increasingly severe sanctions and the stigma of being labeled as failing. NCLB couples this punitive scheme with utter laxity regarding the standards and tests themselves. States get to develop their own standards, create their own tests, and set their own passing rates. Imagine if the EPA told the auto industry it would be fined heavily for polluting too much but let automakers decide for themselves what counts as "too much" pollution. That's basically how NCLB works.
Nice analogy, nice recommendations. Now we just need a new President who might actually be able to put these ideas into action.