The No Child law, passed in 2001 by bipartisan majorities, focused the nation’s attention on closing achievement gaps between minorities and whites, but it included many provisions that created what Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Friday called “perverse incentives.”
In an effort to meet the law’s requirements for passing grades, many states began dumbing down standards, and teachers began focusing on test preparation rather than on engaging class work.
“We’ve got to get accountability right this time,” Mr. Duncan told reporters Friday. “For the mass of schools, we want to get rid of prescriptive interventions. We’ll leave it up to them to figure out how to make progress.”
So, let me get this straight. Under NCLB 1.0. states were permitted to set their own standards and assessments. In other words, the Feds "[left] it up to[the states] to figure out how to make progress." And, many states chose to create "dumbed down standards" due to "perverse incentives."
Fair enough. This time DoE wants to pressure the states into adopting national standards. Clearly, the Feds with their long history of educational success know much better how to educate than the states.
But now when it comes to meeting those tough new federal standards, Arne wants to again "leave it up to [the states] to figure out how to make progress." Even though they weren't doing such a good job of making progress towards their own dumbed-down standards.
Reading First failed, not because it was too prescriptive, but because it wasn't prescriptive enough. States got to figure it out for themselves how to select/develop interventions as long as they made it appear to to be based on evidence.
The game for states, in case anyone hasn't figured it out yet, is to appear as though they are doing something important, pretend to care an awful lot for the children, appear to follow the scientific evidence, let the chips fall where they may, wait for someone to come up with a new politically correct narrative to explain why some external factor caused them to fail, and agitate for a kinder,gentlerNCLB 3.0
NCLB 2.0: Reading First but with even less oversight and compliance.
Now that's what I call smart regulation and failing to heed history's lessons.