Saturday, May 13, 2006

An F for NCLB: Not one state meets Chimpy's mandates

Chalk up another failing grade for one of Dear Leader's pet projects.  According to this report from CNN (and yes, I have to scrub my monitor from being on that site), not one state has met the requirements to have a "highly qualified teacher" in every core class.  Additionally, at least 9 states face fines, and at least 12 more may face the loss of funding.

Good thing that Chimpy promised to expand his "commitment" to education in his recent SOTU, since the US is falling further behind in educational standards and scores vs. other countries.

Of course, this is probably just what he and Grover Norquist wanted so that federal funds can continue to go into the pockets of the obscenely wealthy and their cronies instead of programs for We the People.

Remember this from January's SOTU?

And to keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hardworking, ambitious people -- and we're going to keep that edge. Tonight I announce an American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our nation's children a firm grounding in math and science.

First, I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years. This funding will support the work of America's most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.

Or how about this comment from Education Secretary Margaret Spelling?

Education Secretary Margaret Spelling argues that President Bush's 2001 education reform law, the No Child Left Behind Act, is working to lift minority education levels. "It makes me bristle when I hear people say, 'There's no way in hell we can have our children reach grade-level proficiency,"' she says.

And back in November, this BusinessWeek article expressed doubts about the US's educational standards as well as NCLB and the program that Chimpy McIlliterate used in Texas was Governor.

U.S. high school math and reading scores already rank below those of most of the advanced economies in Europe and Asia. Now education is exploding in countries such as China and India. There are nearly as many college students in China as in the U.S. Within a decade, the Conference Board projects, students in such countries will be just as likely as those in the U.S. and Europe to get a high school education. Given their much larger populations, that should enable them to churn out far more college graduates as well. More U.S. white-collar jobs will then be likely to move offshore, warns National Center President Patrick M. Callan. "For the U.S. economy, the implication of these trends is really stark," he says.


Even with No Child, backsliding already has happened in Texas, the laboratory President George W. Bush used for the law when he was governor of the state. Why? The Lone Star State's Hispanic population is exploding. Because minority students are far more likely to drop out of high school, Texas now ranks dead last among the 50 states in the percentage of adults who have a high school degree. That's down from 39th in 1990.

Similarly, Texas ranks 35th among the states in the percentage of adults who have a college degree, down from 23rd in 1990. State demographer Steve H. Murdock is telling anyone who will listen that Texas public schools will be 80% minority by 2040, up from 57% in 2000. If the education gap persists, he warns, the income of the average Texas household will fall by $6,500 by 2040, after inflation adjustments -- potentially fueling a spike in poverty, the prison population, and other social problems. "We've been very hard hit," says Murdock.

In Texas and across the country, No Child's focus on test results skirts the biggest Achilles' heel of the public schools: the growing dropout rate. Nationally, the on-time high school graduation rate is lower now than it was in 1983, when the report A Nation at Risk first sounded the alarm about the nation's failing schools, says Michael Cohen, president of Achieve Inc., a nonprofit school standards group created by governors and business leaders.

So, fast forward to yesterday, when the US Department of Education announced that every state will now have to explain how they will become 100% compliant with a program that is cumbersome, counterproductive and lacking in support (not to mention that lawsuits have been filed by the NEA and a number of states against the administration.

Already, Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina and Washington (not to mention DC and Puerto Rico) face fines for "not doing enough to comply in time".  Twelve other states are still under review.  So that means nearly half of the states are potentially going to lose a huge amount of funding based on a program that was pretty much set up for failure and was widely recognized as cumbersome, onerous and an unfounded mandate when it was first passed.

Department officials would not say how much aid could be withheld from states to force compliance. But [Henry] Johnson, [the assistant secretary over elementary and secondary education] said, "In some cases, we're talking about large amounts of money."

States often fell short because they did not report accurate or complete data about the quality of the teacher corps, said Rene Islas, who oversees the department's review.

Hmmmmm.....cumbersome and nearly impossible mandates that result in the loss of educational funding which results in lower education standards, subpar teachers, less interest in education by the students and a higher dropout rate.  Sounds like a recipe for success to me....

Once again, another prime example of how a pretty name for a disastrous program does not make the program any less disastrous.  And once again, this shows that the "compassionate conservatives" care more about shrinking the government to where it can drown in a bathtub than investing in the future of this country.

Just another example of how the future of this country is circling the drain.

No comments: