The speech that Tom Horne, Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, gave at the Heritage Foundation yesterday, in which he criticizes implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act for English-language learners, takes me back to the 1970s. I remember how in that decade, my high school teachers talked about various kinds of dysfunction in Russian society, such as how people at times had to stand in long lines to buy bread.
In his speech, Mr. Horne compares implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act with attempts by the government of the former Soviet Union to micromanage the Russian economy. An excerpt of Mr. Horne’s speech says: “When a central bureaucracy attempts to manage a complex continent-wide system, extreme dysfunction results. My theme today is that this is true of No Child Left Behind, with a 1,000-page bill and an intrusive federal government.” (You can listen to the speech as well.)
For several years, Arizona didn’t use the test scores of English-language learners who had attended U.S. schools for less than three years in calculating adequate yearly progress under NCLB. The U.S. Department of Education has told Arizona that it must comply with the same regulation as other states: that the scores of such students be included after they’ve attended U.S. schools for one year.
Mr. Horne isn’t happy about that.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.