The No Child Left Behind Act turns five this week, but it appears many teachers won’t be celebrating. Among the ways the NCLB Act has changed schools since its enactment, according to an overview by USA Today, is by “driving teachers crazy.” Teachers have been most frustrated by the curricular constraints the law appears to have fostered and by its emphasis on standardized tests. “I am well on my way to becoming an embittered and mediocre teacher who heretofore considered teaching to be a profession, not a job,” one educator is reported to have written on an online petition calling for NCLB’s repeal. While many observers credit the law with bringing greater attention to poor and minority students, even longtime supporters appear to be having doubts about how well NCLB is playing out in schools. In a move that has created a stir in the education policy world, a former Bush administration education official has posted an article conceding that the “NCLB as enacted is fundamentally flawed and probably beyond repair.” Michael Petrilli, a self-described ‘True Believer” who used to wear an NCLB pin on his lapel, now says the law is rife with “nonsensical provisions” and flaws. Chief among them, he writes, are a “rigid rule-based mechanism” for determining highly qualified teachers and an incentives system that appears to have turned many schools into “test-prep factories.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.