Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

The No Child Left Behind Act's fatal flaw

Thank you for drawing attention to the flaws of the No Child Left Behind Act ("A failing law," July 19). After years of reading about the inadequacies of the public school system, it was refreshing to read an editorial that acknowledged "the faulty way the law was constructed" as a significant factor in how many schools are now labeled failing.

I am wondering what took so long? Teachers who have spent the last 10 years chasing the laudable but impossible standard of 100 percent proficiency by 2014 have seen this moment coming since the law's inception. From experience we know that no matter how good we may become at our craft, there will always be a few students we may not be able to reach, despite our best efforts.

That there is no one size fits all where progress is concerned. Unfortunately, those who dare to voice their concerns publicly, if they are heard at all, are often dismissed as lacking the skills to reach their students or are accused of lacking faith in their students' ability to achieve.

Yet it's not hard to figure out that in a system that demands 100 percent proficiency, it takes only one student out of hundreds or even thousands to miss the mark for the entire school to be declared failing, regardless of the success of all the others.

The Sun calls for "a more rational and balanced approach to measuring educational progress." Balanced, yes. But I'm not convinced that more "rational" is what we need. Let's start by recognizing that education is less about attaining perfection and more about creating possibilities.

Let's put the heart back into a system that seems to have sold its soul to the relentless pursuit of perfect test scores. And then let's listen to some of our master teachers for a change. I'm pretty sure they could tell you what is needed.

Valerie Heller, Ellicott City

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Reading by 8th grade not realistic for everyone

    While No Child Left Behind continues to be underfunded, and Race to the Top may reward schools in affluent communities, please consider that the goal that all students read by 8th grade may not be viable, as one-fifth of the population has a learning difference and might require more time.

  • Fixing No Child Left Behind

    Our view: The law's original goal of holding underperforming schools accountable has become a ticking time bomb that threatens to punish school districts across the country

  • No Child Left Behind: bad medicine for education

    Ever since it was implemented almost a decade ago, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has been bad medicine: the larger the dose, the worse the after-effects. Idealistically conceived but psychologically warped, it has generated more problems than it has solved — if any.

  • City high school graduation rates are a cruel charade
    City high school graduation rates are a cruel charade

    The headline on Colin Campbell's recent report on Baltimore City high school graduation rates was misleading ("Graduation rates at city schools below average, but rising," Dec. 16).

  • Here's why you should care about torture
    Here's why you should care about torture

    In his letter to the editor, Mark Wilson ("Who cares what the CIA does to terrorists?" Dec. 21) asks whether he is living in the "Twilight Zone" because he sees nothing wrong with torturing people to get so-called information from them. Perhaps he is. He fails to grasp that the people in...

  • How Republicans are ruining America
    How Republicans are ruining America

    On the national level, the cost of citizens not voting is quickly becoming apparent. Economically, the seeds of the next recession have been sown by the Republican weakening of financial controls so once again the greedy of Wall Street can gamble on dangerous financial derivatives with...

Comments
Loading