`No Child’ turns seven

It’s Elvis’s birthday, too, judging from the plastic bust that appeared in the middle of the newsroom today. But I digress.

With the presidential election behind us, efforts to reauthorize and re-shape the landmark education law might start up again in earnest.

Many of you have watched public education transform because of NCLB. What’s different, and what has stayed the same? What in the act, if anything, would you keep in place, and what would you pitch? 

If nothing else, hasn’t NCLB focused more attention on children who have historically been failed by the system? I guess the real question is whether that attention has helped those kids and the schools they attend, and how progress should be measured.

Here’s what American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten had to say:

WASHINGTON—The seven-year anniversary of No Child Left Behind is no cause for celebration. For the past seven years, NCLB has become a stand-in for real discussions about a robust education policy that prepares children for the 21st century.

The AFT wholeheartedly agrees with what President-elect Obama has said repeatedly about this law: that its goals—high standards, an excellent teacher for every child, and closing the achievement gap—are the right ones, but that schools need to be supported in order to make this happen.

The AFT looks forward to working with a new Congress and administration to ensure that this law is retooled and reauthorized to provide real solutions for closing the achievement gap. Focusing on collaboration with teachers, parents and community partners; building capacity; and creating community schools—i.e., schools that offer a variety of wraparound services, including tutoring, recreational and social service programs—are three great ways to start. If the law can reflect these ideas, then we can truly help all schools offer every child a rigorous, well-rounded education that prepares him or her for college, work and life.

image by fraley_tera from flickr.com/creativecommons

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Sharon

    For an intelligent response to NCLB by Pedro Noguera and Richard Rothstein, go to http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/pm137

  • Sharon

    To view charts that clearly show NCLB’s lack of success at improving the achievement gap on national tests (NAEP), go to http://schoolsmatter.blogspot.com/2009/01/remember-achievement-gap.html

  • Nancy

    The Achievement Alliance was created by…(including…National Council of La Raza)…to deepen public understanding of NCLB which (they) believe to be the nation’s best chance to overall raise student achievement and close academic achievement gaps…


    Can you blame people after 17 years of funding, legislation, programs, etc, that adult illiteracy has actually dropped California’s 31st ranking to 51st in the nation?

    Not all things about NCLB are bad…many people are also sick of working in some of these dyfunctional and unhealthy schools….

  • http://jeansfreelancing.blogspot.com Jean Womack

    Hi Katy,

    Well, I took the NCLB exam for art teachers today. It is supposed to qualify me as a highly qualified teacher, if I pass it. I think I passed the sample test that was on the internet, so I have great hopes that I passed this one. It was five hours of sitting silently, answer multiple choice questions as fast I could, and then writing a few essays about art works that had examples to look at. The sample test was good prepation for the real thing.

    As I was working on the sample test, I reflected that it was good exercise to be forced to collect my thoughts about my own art work and write them down coherently. An artist’s statement is requested more and more these days.

    Yes, it is true that I had a few resentments about having to take it, because I did meet all the subject matter requirements for the credential, and then some. And I have a clear credential already. But I went ahead and took the test. Now I can only hope that it will help me get a job teaching art, or even just be a substitute teacher a little longer.

    Keep up the good work on your blog. I am sure it is helpful to many people in Oakland, and the rest of the East Bay as well. People deserve to know about what they are paying their education dollar in taxes to get. You are the one who gives them that report.

    Jean Womack