Well, how do you avoid having a child left behind? Very simple; the
old tried and true(?) method of lowering the standards. I suppose it all depends upon what result you're aiming for--nothing beats self-esteem!
It all seems a bit reminiscent of the old joke about the gentleman visiting a lunatic asylum; he approached what appeared to be a very normal fellow, and asked him questions about the various inmates. The man was very informative and started pointing out nearby examples and described their psychopathy.
He concluded with one he regarded as the most disturbed of all--"look at that nutcase--he thinks he is Napoleon--how could HE be, when I AM?"
So it goes--if you can't master simple addition but consider yourself a brilliant mathematician, you can't be left behind!
Failing Schools Strain to Meet U.S. Standard - By DIANA JEAN SCHEMO -
Published: October 16, 2007
LOS ANGELES — As the director of high schools in the gang-infested
neighborhoods of the East Side of Los Angeles, Guadalupe Paramo
struggles every day with educational dysfunction.
For the past half-dozen years, not even one in five students at her
district's teeming high schools has been able to do grade-level math
or English. At Abraham Lincoln High School this year, only 7 in 100
students could. At Woodrow Wilson High, only 4 in 100 could.
For chronically failing schools like these, the No Child Left Behind
law, now up for renewal in Congress, prescribes drastic measures:
firing teachers and principals, shutting schools and turning them
over to a private firm, a charter operator or the state itself, or a
major overhaul in governance.
But more than 1,000 of California's 9,500 schools are branded chronic
failures, and the numbers are growing. Barring revisions in the law,
state officials predict that all 6,063 public schools serving poor
students will be declared in need of restructuring by 2014, when the
law requires universal proficiency in math and reading.
"What are we supposed to do?" Ms. Paramo asked. "Shut down every
With the education law now in its fifth year — the one in which its
more severe penalties are supposed to come into wide play —
California is not the only state overwhelmed by growing numbers of
schools that cannot satisfy the law's escalating demands.
In Florida, 441 schools could be candidates for closing. In Maryland,
some 49 schools in Baltimore alone have fallen short of achievement
targets for five years or more. In New York State, 77 schools were
candidates for restructuring as of last year.
Some districts, like those in New York City, have moved forcefully to
shut large failing high schools and break them into small schools.
Los Angeles, too, is trying small schools, along with other
innovations, and David L. Brewer III, its schools superintendent, has
just announced plans to create a "high priority district" under his
direct control made up of 40 problem schools.
Yet so far, education experts say they are unaware of a single state
that has taken over a failing school in response to the law. Instead,
most allow school districts to seek other ways to improve.
"When you have a state like California with so many schools up for
restructuring," said Heinrich Mintrop, an education professor at the
University of California, Berkeley, "that taxes the capacity of the
whole school change industry."
As a result, the law is branding numerous schools as failing, but not
producing radical change — leaving angry parents demanding redress.
California citizens' groups have sued the state and federal
government for failing to deliver on the law's promises.
"They're so busy fighting No Child Left Behind," said Mary Johnson,
president of Parent U-Turn, a civic group. "If they would use some of
that energy to implement the law, we would go farther."
Ray Simon, the deputy federal secretary of education, said states
that ignored the law's demands risked losing federal money or facing
restrictions on grants. For now, Mr. Simon said, the department is
more interested in helping states figure out what works than in
punishment. "Even a state has to struggle if it takes over a school,"
A federal survey last year showed that in 87 percent of the cases of
persistently failing schools, states and school districts avoided
wholesale changes in staff or leadership. That is why, Mr. Simon
said, the Bush administration is proposing that Congress force more
action by limiting districts' options in responding to hard-core
In California, Jack O'Connell, the state superintendent of schools,
calls the law's demands unreasonable. Under the federal law, 700
schools that California believed were getting substantially better
were counted last year as failing. A state takeover of schools, Mr.
O'Connell said, would be a "last option."
"To have a successful program," he said, "it really has to come from
Under the No Child law, a school declared low-performing for three
years in a row must offer students free tutoring and the option to
transfer. After five years, such schools are essentially treated as
irredeemable, with the law prescribing starting over with a new
structure, new leadership or new teachers. But it also gives schools
the option of less sweeping changes, like reducing school size or
changing who is in charge of hiring.
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