I remain supremely frustrated by articles on NCLB like Diana Jean Schemo’s piece in the New York Times today, much as I appreciate the coverage. Here’s why: (1) There’s this insistence on making a bogeyman of NCLB even though it’s admitted later on that the law is pretty toothless. (2) There’s the repeated throwing around of big-sounding numbers (schools in need of restructuring, etc.), without percentages for context. (3) There’s the implicit blame on the supposed severity of the law, not on reluctant or slow-moving state and district authorities, or a weak law with lots of loopholes. (4) There’s an almost entirely unsupported assertion of increased bitterness and adversity on the part of parents and others.
There are some juicy tidbits, including this news about the creation of parent unions fighting for faster changes, and the plan to revamp LAUSD to focus attention on low-performing schools. But shouldn’t this line, buried in the story, be in the nut graf? “So far, education experts say they are unaware of a single state that has taken over a failing school in response to the law.” Or, another punchy line buried too far down? “They’re so busy fighting No Child Left Behind,” said Mary Johnson, president of Parent U-Turn, a civic group. “If they would use some of that energy to implement the law, we would go farther.”
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