Education Letter to the Editor

Change NCLB Now, Through ‘Resistance’

November 27, 2007 1 min read

To the Editor:

In your article “2007 NCLB Prospects Are Fading” (Nov. 7, 2007), you report that Congress is at an impasse on the No Child Left Behind Act that could leave the legislation unchanged until 2010. Teachers, parents, and students know that this is unacceptable.

There is another way to achieve change sooner. That’s resistance. A teacher in Wisconsin made the national news late last month by an act of resistance. He refused to administer the test used to establish adequate yearly progress to his students.

What would happen if all the teachers in a school or a district did the same? Would the politicians take notice if parents refused to send their kids to school on test days? Would a strike by 5th graders or a march on the school board by middle school students make NCLB an issue in the 2008 presidential and congressional elections?

Already, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a Democratic presidential candidate, has promised to repeal NCLB. Resistance might force the other candidates to take a stronger position. And that would force Congress to face an aroused public. Several new House members won their seats in the 2006 elections with a promise to change NCLB.

Resistance to bad law, Jefferson told us, is our right in a democracy. It’s time for teachers, administrators, parents, and students to resist this terrible, punitive law. Politicians enacted it; we need to hold them responsible now for changing it. Resistance can do that.

Kenneth S. Goodman

Professor Emeritus

Department of Language, Reading, and Culture

College of Education

University of Arizona

Tucson, Ariz.

A version of this article appeared in the November 28, 2007 edition of Education Week as Change NCLB Now, Through ‘Resistance’