Tina K. Russell

March 20, 2008

Fuzzy Numbers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Tina Russell @ 8:45 am

States’ Data Obscure How Few Finish High School – New York Times

Most troublesome to some experts was the way the No Child law’s mandate to bring students to proficiency on tests, coupled with its lack of a requirement that they graduate, created a perverse incentive to push students to drop out. If low-achieving students leave school early, a school’s performance can rise….

“They get them out so they don’t have them taking those tests,” said Wanda Holly-Stirewalt, director of a program in Jackson, Miss., that helps dropouts earn a G.E.D. “We’ve heard that a lot. It happens all over the system.”

I believe that No Child Left Behind is a well-meaning law, but like any well-meaning law, it has unintended consequences. Here, you can read about a few.

Much as I am aware that a lack of consistent standards will cause children to fall through the cracks, I also know that any metric relied upon too heavily will become irreparably corrupted, in kind of an extreme Heisenberg principle. Moreover, I’m sick of our school culture that believes a million sticks and nary a single carrot will somehow improve the institutions that will educate our children. I’m also sick of the way we teach our children to “compete” as though education, and social mobility, is a zero-sum game. Unfortunately, the more we think this way, the more it becomes the truth.

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