Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Return to your (and my) regularly scheduled programing

In the time since my last post (I've been away on theatrical business), a lot has happened. My favorite candidate, John Edwards, dropped out of the presidential race. We all learned that Elliot Spitzer was a giant fraud. My boys the Boston Red Sox got their rings.

But while I was away, I also did a little reading of a very sad story. 17 of this country's 50 largest cities have dropout rates over 50%. Whatever happened to No Child Left Behind? The national dropout rate is around 30%. That's not even in the ballpark of where we need to be. And the fact of the matter is, the NCLB Act isn't the real problem. The people enforcing it are.

National standards will never work if you don't have national enforcement. Right now, our federal government says that all states must create a standard which their students must meet. That means that states are creating education tools out of their budget, which is limited to begin with. We need more federal funding and federal enforced testing if we want to make national standards work. If not, get rid of them.


Fannah Heldman said...

I'd have to disagree. NCLB isn't the problem? Taking money away from schools that need it is not a good idea. Giving money to schools that don't need it is not a good idea. If schools are doing poorly, they should be helped, not punished.

NCLB has made drop-out rates worse, in my opinion. Schools have to cut back on electives, and instead are forced to teach the tests. Kids don't want to go to school if it's a prison.

There's also a huge difference between urban and suburban drop-out rates. In Philly, the graduation rate is around 50%. Just outside Philly, the suburban graduation rate is around 85%. There's a lot more to drop-out rates than school performance...
(article on diff. between rates:

Ben Shanahan said...

NCLB had good ideas that weren't properly enforced. That's what's wrong with it. Not the concept, the actual carrying out of the plan.