Stay the course? Surge? Or rethink the mission? These familiar foreign policy questions are now being turned towards reauthorization of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. A government NCLB study group is eyeing a strategy of more testing and greater reliance on test scores. But author John Merrow says this is a “backward-thinking” approach.
Merrow argues that the law has fueled a “soft bigotry of low expectations” by allowing states to set their own standards and emphasizing cheap standardized testing. The law, he says, has narrowed curriculum and undermined efforts to develop more sophisticated assessment tools. Staying the course would be “disastrous,” he warns, and we should use this time to determine what kind of education we want for our children.
What do you think? Can the NCLB law be saved? Should its reauthorization be delayed?
A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.