Friday, September 21, 2007

No Child Left Behind

Over the past five years, on my visits to the US (and in between), I've met a lot of people who are either school teachers or have friends or family who are school teachers. So I've heard a lot about No Child Left Behind. And it's all been bad. I've listened to dedicated teachers who say they are no longer allowed to read aloud to kids in the classroom. That reading books is bottom of the list of activities. That inspectors come into classrooms and check up on what the teacher is teaching. That the school curriculum is now designed to train kids to pass tests, so the school can get their funding. That some desperate teachers try to find ways to "fudge" the test results. That lots of great teachers are giving up in despair and finding other jobs.

When our Prime Minister started spouting about bringing in something similar here in Australia, my blood began to boil. If you don't know what NCLB is about, do some research. You think you hated school when you were a kid - try being a poor kid in a poor school coping with NCLB. And if you want to read about a dedicated educator in the US who is doing his damnedest to make a difference (Congress is due to review NCLB soon), then read his blog. I tried to read the comments on his post and had to give up because so many of them were either off the point or downright stupid.

1 comment:

Tracey said...

Hmm, as an aside, and not a comment on the US policy or what you've written here, we had quasi-relatives who emigrated to the US a few years ago. Their son (a year ahead of our daughter) was struggling with school here, really hating it, always in trouble, the usual kind of stuff. Went to the US and loved their school system, started getting great grades etc. My immediate thought was that I bet the standard was lower, but his parents insisted it wasn't. Anyway, they moved back here about six months ago, and the kids struggling again, hating it, in trouble all the time. Dunno exactly what the difference is, but something was working for him over there.