NCLB: Will Duncan Plan Ease Schools' Discomfort Too Much?
There's a lot of talk these days about teachers feeling scapegoated by school reform efforts. But they're not the only ones. Schools and the districts that run them have long complained that NCLB has "overidentified" schools due to just one or two pesky subgroups or a barely-missed cutoff. And one of the main goals of the Duncan reauthorization proposal seems to be to reduce the type and number number of schools that are deemed in need of improvement. [Or, as DFER's Charlie Barone described it, "to ease discomfort with a law that has identified roughly a third of schools in the U.S. as 'in need of improvement'."] But I'm not so convinced that NCLB has really done such a bad job of identifying schools over all, and I'm not sure I'd rather have a system that under-identifies them any better. To be sure, a school rating system has to be clear and comprehensible and generally accepted - but not at the cost of watering everything down and giving everyone but the worst schools a pass.