Friday, March 04, 2005

When Eduwonk attacks!

Look out! Just when you thought it was safe, another Eduwonk offensive:

Not to beat a dead horse, but Brink returns to the issue of the progressivism of No Child Left Behind. He essentially argues that it might be progressive if it were funded enough.


Uh, no I didn't. What I wrote is here; I never said NCLB would be progressive if it was funded. What I said was this:

[N]o education legislation that fails to address the fundamental problems of inadequate and inequitable funding can truly be called progressive.


But Eduwonk didn't stop there:

This, of course, falls squarely into the “it sucks but fund it trap”. If the law’s no good or regressive, then it’s no good and regressive regardless of its appropriation. If its goals are worthy, then they’re worthy regardless of Washington budget fights. Moreover, funding is a strange measure of progressivism in the first place. By this facile logic, President Bush is more progressive on education than President Clinton. Is Brink going to take up that case?


No, I'm not. And there's a simple reason. All the money the Bush Administration has put into the system has been swallowed whole by the costs of the tests. It'd be like saying, we're going to cure AIDS -- no, we're not going to find a new drug, we're just going to run a bunch of tests and find out who has it. Once we've done that, there will be no more money available to fund medicines, hospices, etc.

This is real simple: Tests are diagnostic. They don't necessarily improve instruction or increase learning. And often, when they are high stakes tests, they impede learning by limiting the curriculum to very narrow objectives.

NCLB is not a progressive law. It is not worth fighting for. What the education system needs is not more tests; we have plenty already. A progressive education initiative would provide new money for facilities, rescources, and teacher salaries and would focus that money in the schools -- both urban and rural -- that need them most.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jenny D. said...

Brink, Newark NJ schools spend $15,000 per pupil, more than any other K-12 district in the state. So tell me again about inequitable funding? If funding is the answer, then shouldn't Newark students be the top achievers in the state?

Here's a thought: what if the teachers need more training in order to teach better? But, how would you know that if you never tested the students? Maybe NCLB is as much about identifying poor teachers as it is about student achievement.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Jenny D. said...

Brink, Newark NJ schools spend $15,000 per pupil, more than any other K-12 district in the state. So tell me again about inequitable funding? If funding is the answer, then shouldn't Newark students be the top achievers in the state?

Here's a thought: what if the teachers need more training in order to teach better? But, how would you know that if you never tested the students? Maybe NCLB is as much about identifying poor teachers as it is about student achievement.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe you should check things out before you weigh in on everything, brink, because i think that this notion has been pretty thoroughly debunked:

"All the money the Bush Administration has put into the system has been swallowed whole by the costs of the tests."

there's extra money for states to develop more tests, funding has gone up billions, and the annual testing requirement hasn't even kicked in yet.

check your facts. don't try to be an expert on everything. it'll work out much better for you.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Tom Hoffman said...

Well, there's this from the state of Connecticut: "The cost estimates in this report are sobering. Through FY08, there is a burden of approximately $41.6 million on the State of Connecticut to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. This amount is the difference between our estimates of the costs to the State Department of Education ($112,185,000 in staff time and actual dollar outlay) and applicable funds received from the federal government ($70,580,000). These are state-level costs only; a report on local costs will be published in April 2005."

The full report is here as a pdf. What's the evidence to refute this?

8:28 AM  

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