NCLB Sustains a Permanent Underclass:

In a white paper published today by, columnist Daniel Pryzbyla describes the current No Child Left Behind-leaves many children behind Act as creating a permanent underclass, especially when it comes to Title I schools. And he has an interesting take on this.

An excerpt:

Nowhere in the Title I document does it mention “high-stakes testing” to be the sole “accountability” factor in determining “adequate yearly progress.” Leaving out the details in the 12 items in “Statement of Purpose” proved necessary for President Bush’s new pro-privatization education department, now under the tutelage of pro-religious schools Margaret Spellings. Its final item Number 12 proved a godsend for its wordsmith. On its content meaning, who would even raise an eyebrow? “(12) affording parents substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children.” This is pro-privatization code meaning, “We will have numbers of charter, private charter, private and religious schools and their representatives available to help you get out of the ‘failing’ Title I public school by any means necessary.”

The article continues:

Missing from NCLB or any accompanying law for “disadvantaged” students is “Improving Economic Security for Disadvantaged Families.” Ignoring family socioeconomic and racial factors in NCLB deliberations was tantamount to heresy. Parent(s) and guardian(s) involvement in a student’s academic and non-academic life has been seen as the pillar for potential successful child development. This is evident in non-Title I schools where economics and family involvement play significant roles in a child’s social and education development. Since a vast majority of “disadvantaged” students were also in custody of “financially disadvantaged” single mothers, NCLB was a socioeconomic sledgehammer aimed specifically at Title I public schools. These impoverished single mothers are left to the mercy of the low-wage job market, having to work night shifts while trying to juggle “family obligations” too. Was it surprising to hear of young siblings taking care of younger siblings when their mother was working 2nd or 3rd shifts? No, not at all. Was it surprising to have low attendance when school/community meetings or report card conferences were held after school? No, not at all. Did this mean all single “economically disadvantaged” mothers didn’t care how their child or children were doing in school(s)? No, not at all.

With everyone getting on the bandwagon to either reform or drop NCLB-LMCB altogether, will it actually happen? We can only hope and speculate, because it is doing nothing but destroying our schools.

E.C. 🙂


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