The article gets a bunch of educators together to make the familiar argument that NCLB's 100% proficiency target is impossible.
"Within two to three years, our school district will be in the headlines for failing," said Kelli Moors, president of the board of Carlsbad Unified School District -- that, with San Dieguito Union High School District and Poway Unified School District, are among the highest performing in the county.
All three say that they have so far met the requirements of federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, but won't for long.
Under the law, every student in every classroom in every state must read and do math at grade level by 2014 as measured by a battery of state tests given each spring to students in grades two through 11.
As Congress considers reauthorizing the landmark legislation, designed to improve teaching and learning across the nation, educators and policymakers across the state say the law should stay -- but it must be revised to make it work.
"There's not a school in our district that will meet that test -- not a school in the nation," said Don Phillips, superintendent of Poway Unified School District.
These educators are trying to get excused from the law, excused from meeting NCLB's 100% proficiency requirement. In the law, we call this kind of argument an appeal to equity.
Basically, these educators want to supplement the strict rules of the NCLB law because its application would operate harshly on them. For example, schools operating at high levels of efficiency, say 90+%, might try to get excused from the 100% requirement because its application would be unduly harsh, i.e., high-performing schools would be labeled as failing schools and would be subject to harsh reforms. These educators what equitable relief from the draconian effect of NCLB. But wait ...
Courts, however, have developed rules as to when a party can argue for equitable relief. One doctrine is the doctrine of unclean hands by which a party asking for equity must come to the court with clean hands, i.e., in good faith and without any wrong doing on their part.
In this case, the educators do not have clean hands. As we find out a few paragraphs later:
To reach that 100 percent target in California, state lawmakers set annual goals for improvement. In 2006-07, one in four students was required to earn a "proficient" score, which means that a student has learned the facts and skills that state officials have set for that grade and age.
But starting in 2008, the annual requirement for improvement will rise 11 percent per year.
"We're hopeful that we'll get over that bar next year, but the year after, I suspect we'll have some schools falling behind." Phillips said. "To have that kind of change in that short of a window is not realistic."
In North Carolina, The current proficiency requirement is 25%. Next year it'll rise to 35%. And, the year after that it'll rise to %45. So, this educator is running a school district that, by his own admission, likely won't be able to exceed a proficiency target between 35% and 45%. That's pathetic.
And, he's moaning about the 100% proficiency target. While, he's missing that target by over 50% and doesn't expect to improve. That strikes me as being somewhat odious.
Update: Eduwonk points out some of the numerous errors in this article. I was originally going to make this a lengthier post and point out some of those errors, but decided on a shorter post instead to highlight this particular sleight of hand. In any event, Eduwonk has the skinny.