The Thomas B. Fordham Institute often speaks to issues related to charter schools and wrote an extensive and critical but constructive report in 2006 on specifically Ohio’s charter school system (which has helped it earn my respect, because they seem to recognize that sure, charters can be huge enhancements to a system but the Ohio deployment has been fraught with misdirection and misapplication of the intent behind the movement – 50% of rated charters are in academic emergency or academic watch).
This week, the New York Times ran this op-ed, “Smart Child Left Behind,” written by Tom Loveless, “…a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a member of the task force on K-12 education at Stanford’s Hoover Institution,” and Michael J. Petrilli, “…vice president for national programs and policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.” I could not agree more with pretty much every assertion and conclusion, including this:
It is clear that No Child Left Behind is helping low-achieving students. But it is also obvious that high-achieving students — who suffer from benign neglect under the law — have been making smaller gains, much as they did before it was enacted. Alas, this drug is producing no miracles.
No doubt, some will claim victory: We are closing the achievement gap between our top and bottom students! But is that our only national goal in education? What might happen if federal law encouraged educators to improve the performance of all students? Our analysis of the federal data identified tens of thousands of high achievers who are black, Hispanic or poor. They are excelling at their studies, often against great odds. Shouldn’t we be addressing their educational needs?
As we look for ways to improve No Child Left Behind, we must recognize that our top students still have much to learn.
Emphasis is mine. I pray and wish that it would be that of many, many others as well.