USAT's Whitmire Takes on Orfield's Harvard Civil Rights Project

The most interesting piece on NCLB this week was Richard Whitmire's USAT editorial (No lessons left behind ) highlighting among other things the deafening silence in response to last week's generally good news about NAEP scores that came from not only the NEA (big surprise) but also from nominally progressive organizations like Gary Orfield's Civil Rights Project at Harvard, which has taken a mystifying stance against NCLB:

"Earlier this month, the group issued a report essentially accusing the federal law of being racially discriminatory because its accountability net caught too many poor and minority school districts. Huh? For years, poor and minority students have suffered from attending schools that have failed them. Holding those schools accountable is the law's bedrock."

Most misleading headline of the week goes to this one: Study: No Child Left Behind will fail most schools. It's the schools, not the law, that are failing, according to the report that's being cited. Blaming the law for failing the schools won't work.

Best of the Rest:

Utah plays waiting game on No Child rules Daily Herald
Requests Win More Leeway Under NCLB Education Week
Still swimming in Lake Wobegon Gadfly
An Interview with Chester Finn Education News
AFT Follows Separate Path in Changing Law EW

NRC Weighs In on States’ Science Assessments EW


Anonymous JENNYD said...

Another Failure by Journalists to Cover Education

Listen to the NPR story here...

Alexander Russo first pointed it out to me. Then one of my education professors shook his head when he mentioned it, saying how the reporter utterly failed to grasp the simplest ideas about what education is and could be.

Here's the story: the introduction says that NCLB is supposed to help all children learn. But in East St. Louis things are really bad. People are really poor and the schools are really lousy.

Then the story focuses on a single mother who wants more for her daughter. She's poor. But she has high hopes for her daughter and wants her to get out of East St. Louis.

But she pulled her kids out of the public schools. She says lots of parents don't care about bettering their kids' lives.

There's a new guy running the schools, appointed in a state takeover. He likes NCLB and says it can help. But, he says, a lot of teachers don't like it.

Meanwhile, kids say East St. Louis is a lousy place to grow up. It's dangerous and people are poor. No money for camp and extras for kids.

editor's note: Okay, what does this story have to do with NCLB? So far, I've learned that East St. Louis is impoverished. And that's about it. Nothing about education. The reporter, Claudio Sanchez, has yet to get near a school.....

Now we hear from someone who runs an organization that provides food for kids. The woman in charge points out that there are no white people in East St. Louis. Then she and the reporter talk about how the schools can't really help anyone get out of poverty. It's nearly impossible. So she recommends now that people leave East St. Louis if they want to save their children.

End -30-

Now I ask you, what on earth does this have to with NCLB? Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Why can't some reporter somewhere learn something about education before they put out a story? It is amazing.

4:27 PM  

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