To the Editor:
I am in the interesting position of working part time in an educational research and evaluation company while also pursuing a master’s degree in literacy. As a teacher, I find myself in complete agreement with Sherman Minter’s Commentary on the No Child Left Behind Act (“Down the Rabbit Hole,” July 28, 2004): It is a misguided, albeit well-intentioned, piece of legislation that has created a huge burden for our neediest schools. The law looks and sounds great to those who have no knowledge of what it really means to educate children.
But from the other side of my experience, the evaluations standpoint, I know that the data being generated by the No Child Left Behind law can be a useful tool to inform instruction and help improve practices.
Mr. Minter makes a strong case for the types of tests that should be used to measure progress, relying on the axiom that children enter school with a wide range of background knowledge and progress at different rates.
In fact, all four of Mr. Minter’s suggestions on making this law work for teachers, schools, and students are valid and are based on what educators across the nation already know about children and learning. So the only question I have is this: Why isn’t the federal government listening?