Federal Federal File

Author to Continue Protest Over NCLB

By Alyson Klein — October 01, 2007 1 min read

Many critics of the No Child Left Behind Act have written to members of Congress to express their dissatisfaction with the law in recent months, but the author and education activist Jonathan Kozol has gone a step further.

Mr. Kozol has been on a partial hunger strike since July, subsisting on a mainly liquid diet, supplemented by some small, solid meals, such as cereal with skim milk. His protest has been derided in some quarters, but Mr. Kozol’s efforts seem sincere. As of mid-September, he had lost about 29 pounds.

He said in an interview last week that he began the hunger strike when he “got the sense the Democratic leadership [in Congress] is going to basically renew No Child Left Behind without the sweeping revisions that it would take to make this a helpful law instead of a grossly punitive law.”

Mr. Kozol, 71, who explored the stark differences between underfunded urban schools and wealthy suburban schools in his 1991 book Savage Inequalities, said he’ll begin eating regularly again once Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, agrees to champion some substantial changes that Mr. Kozol has outlined for the nearly 6-year-old law.

See Also

For more stories on this topic see No Child Left Behind and our Federal news page.

Mr. Kozol would like Congress to reshape the system for gauging whether a school makes adequate yearly progress under the law so that it relies less on standardized tests. He’d like Congress to mandate other measures, such as portfolios of student work, to determine whether students are achieving.

“High-stakes tests are useless to the teacher and the child,” he said. “They give you no specifics on the child’s areas of weakness. They simply place a label of success or failure on the child’s forehead.”

Mr. Kozol also would like states to provide the resources so students in struggling urban schools can transfer to better-performing suburban ones.

Mr. Kozol has already spoken to a top aide of Sen. Kennedy’s, and said he plans to meet with the education committee chairman in the coming weeks.

Melissa Wagoner, a spokeswoman for Sen. Kennedy, confirmed that Mr. Kozol plans to meet with the Senate committee’s chairman soon.

Events

School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Branding your district matters. This webinar will provide you with practical tips and strategies to elevate your brand from three veteran professionals, each of whom has been directly responsible for building their own district’s brand.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. school districts are using hybrid learning right now with varying degrees of success. Students and teachers are getting restless and frustrated with online learning, making curriculum engagement difficult and disjointed. While
Content provided by Samsung

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Principal-Elementary School
San Antonio, TX, US
Southwest Independent School District
Principal-Elementary School
San Antonio, TX, US
Southwest Independent School District
Principal-Elementary School
San Antonio, TX, US
Southwest Independent School District
Special Education Teacher
Chicago, Illinois
JCFS Chicago

Read Next

Federal Biden Revokes Trump's 'Patriotic Education' Order, Will Shield DACA
Joe Biden took a flurry of executive actions on his first day as president that included a new government-wide emphasis on racial equity.
3 min read
 Joe Biden departs a news conference after introducing his nominees and appointees to economic policy posts at The Queen theater, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.
Joe Biden departs a news conference after introducing his nominees and appointees to economic policy posts Dec. 1 in Wilmington, Del.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Opinion Blessings and Best Wishes, President Biden
Rick Hess takes a moment to offer President-elect Biden his best wishes and to reflect on Inauguration Day.
1 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Biden Picks San Diego Superintendent for Deputy Education Secretary
San Diego Superintendent Cindy Marten was a classroom teacher for 17 years before she became a school and district administrator.
2 min read
Image of the White House seal
Bet Noire/Getty
Federal Biden Calls for $130 Billion in New K-12 Relief, Scaled Up Testing, Vaccination Efforts
President-elect Joe Biden proposed new aid for schools as part of a broader COVID-19 relief plan, which will require congressional approval.
5 min read
First-grade teacher Megan Garner-Jones, left, and Principal Cynthia Eisner silent clap for their students participating remotely and in-person at School 16, in Yonkers, N.Y., on Oct. 20, 2020.
First-grade teacher Megan Garner-Jones, left, and Principal Cynthia Eisner silent clap for their students participating remotely and in-person at School 16, in Yonkers, N.Y.
Mary Altaffer/AP