While most reading professionals agree with the basic tenets of the federal No Child Left Behind Act—that reading instruction should be based on research and teachers should engage in sound professional development in the subject—fewer than half in a recent survey indicated that instruction has improved as a result of the 3-year-old law.
The educators overwhelmingly agreed that reading instruction has received more attention because of the law’s focus on literacy, but nearly 80 percent said the measure has contributed to low teacher morale.
Read the results of the International Reading Association survey.
The Newark, Del.-based International Reading Association surveyed some 4,000 of its 80,000 members last fall to gauge their perceptions of the benefits, and drawbacks, of the federal law.
A third of those randomly polled responded to the survey. Overall, the respondents were generally positive about the aims of the law, but they disagreed with the penalties imposed on schools that consistently do not meet performance goals.
Views on whether the law’s benefits outweigh its weaknesses were mixed, with 41 percent agreeing with that statement, and 37 percent disagreeing.
Teachers working at schools receiving money under the federal Reading First initiative expressed more positive opinions about the NCLB law than did their peers at nonparticipating schools.
A version of this article appeared in the February 16, 2005 edition of Education Week