The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.


Published: Monday, April 28, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
In Our View/No Child Left Behind Act


The limit to good intentions

On education policy, Washington’s push-the-envelope M.O. — forehead slapping at times — throws light on a federal law that needs to be overhauled or given the heave-ho.
Last week, Washington became the first state in the nation to have its conditional waiver of the No Child Left Behind Act denied. The bugaboo is that Olympia won’t hitch teacher evaluations to student testing. 
It’s more nuanced than a teachers-union uprising against a culture of standardized testing. The required use of poorly vetted tests to measure student achievement and linking those results to teacher performance is unworkable over the short term, however much it creates the illusion of accountability.
“There is widespread acknowledgment that NCLB isn’t working,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn said. “Congress has failed to change the law at the federal level, so states are forced to come up with workarounds.”
Washington’s inability to finesse workarounds has family-riling consequences: By mid-summer, parents will receive letters declaring that their children attend failing schools (!) just as the state is pouring millions into K-12 education mandated by the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.
“We need Washington education to lead the nation in innovation and prepare our young people for the future, not be known for the first failures,” Sen. Maria Cantwell told The Herald. “Reauthorization of (NCLB) should be a priority in Congress.”
Because of the waiver denial, $40 million the state receives from the feds will be freighted with restrictions. The Everett School District, for example, will be forced to set aside 20 percent of its Title I budget to bus students in failing schools to non-failing ones and to provide private tutors for struggling students.  But transportation is a nonstarter since all of the district’s schools will be classified as failing. 
For the 2014-15 school year, Everett will need $550,000 to produce and mail thousands of letters to parents about their school’s performance, and to channel funds to private tutors.
“Where do we go from here? Obviously No Child Left Behind is leaving everyone behind,” said Rep. Mike Sells, D-Everett. “It wasn’t renewed in 2007 and waivers were granted for a good reason. It was an overreach with noble intentions and you know what they say about good intentions.”
Washington may go its own way, continuing, as Sells urges, to give time to implement common core standards, fully fund McCleary and elevate K-12 by providing teachers additional tools and training.
The acid test of K-12 policy should be what benefits students and what actually works, not good intentions.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.