The Center on Education Policy issued another report today about the effects of the No Child Left Behind accountability law. In the 350 school districts surveyed, it found that the amount of time spent on subjects other than reading and math has dropped by almost one-third since the law was enacted in 2002.
The change has been more profound at school districts like Oakland that have at least one school in need of improvement, the researchers found.
The bright spot: Jack Jennings, the organization’s CEO and president, told me that more and more teachers are finding ways to incorporate reading into other subjects. The key, he said, is for teachers — especially, newer ones — to have the support they need to pull it off.
Some say this trend is undermining public education. Others argue that if kids can’t read well, they won’t be able to learn other subjects. What do you think? Any stories on how the focus on reading and math is working in the Oakland schools?
If you don’t have time to look through the whole report, here are the CEP recommendations (copied directly from the news release):
- Stagger testing requirements and include tests in other subjects. Students should be tested in English language arts in grades 3, 5, 7 and once in high school, and in social studies and science in grades 4, 6, 8 and once in high school.
- Encourage states to give adequate emphasis to art and music and to include measures of knowledge and skills in art and music as one of the multiple measures used for NCLB accountability.
- Require states to have an independent review of their standards and tests at least once every three years to ensure that they are of high quality and rigor.
- Provide federal funds for research to determine the best ways to incorporate and support the teaching of reading and math skills into social studies, science, and other subjects to ensure students will have access to a rich, well-rounded curriculum.