For those of you who can't "hear" my tone because you've never met me, let me assure you this is not one of my sarcastic, fired-up rants. It's been seven exhausting, depressing, ridiculous and in some cases, surreal years thanks to NCLB (No Child Left Behind). Seven years is apparently the exact amount of time needed to pass before our nation's policy makers, journalists, and titillating-gossip-only-news-junkies figure out that those teachers who have been complaining about and rallying against many of the horrible changes NCLB has wrought... are in fact, right. Teachers suspected what has now been confirmed: NCLB's policies were intentionally put into place to create nationwide failure among public schools in order to make school privatization more appealing to the public.
Jim Horn at Schools Matter shares:
... it just took Time Magazine seven years to ask someone on the inside if what we have been saying for seven years is true, but later is better than never, you might say. Susan Neuman, former Asst. Sec. of ED under Rod Paige, now admits that insiders at ED saw "NCLB was a Trojan horse for the choice agenda."
"Neuman gives no clue as to how she will make amends for staying silent during the past 7 years of educational genocide, as millions of children, parents, and educators have been brutalized by the policies she promulgated and promoted."
From the Time Magazine article (with bold emphasis mine):
There was always something slightly insane about No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the ambitious education law often described as the Bush Administration's signature domestic achievement. For one thing, in the view of many educators, the law's 2014 goal — which calls for all public school students in grades 4 through 8 to be achieving on grade level in reading and math — is something no educational system anywhere on earth has ever accomplished. Even more unrealistic: every kid (except for 3% with serious handicaps or other issues) is supposed to be achieving on grade level every year, climbing in lockstep up an ever more challenging ladder. This flies in the face of all sorts of research showing that children start off in different places academically and grow at different rates.
Add to the mix the fact that much of the promised funding failed to materialize and many early critics insisted that No Child Left Behind was nothing more than a cynical plan to destroy American faith in public education and open the way to vouchers and school choice.
Now a former official in Bush's Education department (Neuman) is giving at least some support to that notion.
Horn also links to TeacherKen who wraps up his blog post:
"No Child Left Behind has been very destructive to many of America's public schools. And to have someone as connected as was Susan Neuman acknowledge that for some supposedly dedicated to the well-being of our schools and students it was instead serving as a vehicle to attempt destroy the public schools (and thus a chance at a meaningfully improved economic future for many of our young people) strictly on ideological grounds is something about which everyone should be aware."
Some self-reflections about my job and responsibilities as a teacher as well as my responsibilities as a parent and the educational experiences I want my own children to have are posted here, here, here, and here.
No wonder I need a hug!