The soft bigotry of the achievement gap
Where are the failing schools? Why, says the supporter of NCLB, they're in the inner cities and barrios and rural areas. That's why NCLB is so swell. It will close the achievement gap.
No, it won't. Testing does not necessarily improve instruction or increase learning.
There is an alarming and abundantly clear correlation between schools that fail to make AYP and schools that are in high poverty areas. Before you roll your eyes and say I'm making excuses, remember that school districts generate revenue from property taxes. Property poor districts get portable buildings and leaky roofs; property rich districts get new playgrounds and computer labs. It's a fact of life.
So how do we fix NCLB? Quit handicapping inner city and rural schools and talking about an achievement gap and call it what it really is: a funding gap. Equity is what is needed and frankly, I think there's more than a little subtle racism in the term achievement gap: as if African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and rural students haven't achieved as much as their suburban white peers. They haven't been entitled to as much. Really, looking at the hands they've been dealt, I'd argue that they've achieved more than the suburbanites.
Let's equalize funding for schools (yes, it can be done with statewide property taxes) and give Black, Hispanic, and rural kids a chance at much more than merely passing test scores.