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AND THEY’RE OFF

Filed at 12:31 pm under by dcobranchi

…in a race to the bottom?

The New York Times reports on how states have set the bar at significantly different levels in order to assess adequate yearly progress under NCLB. The paper highlights South Carolina as having set a high hurdle and Colorado and Texas, er, not.

Three-quarters of children across the country would fail South Carolina’s tough fifth-grade test, one study shows, while seven out of eight would ace the third-grade tests in Colorado and Texas.

…Colorado’s reading test was consistently the least demanding in most grades in which it was given, with a passing score that corresponded to a national ranking between the 9th and 18th percentile. South Carolina and Wyoming had passing scores in the 70th percentile and higher in most grades.

…”States with low standards will have relatively few schools that experience the consequential aspects of the law,” said Allan Olson, president of Northwest Evaluation Association in Lake Oswego, Ore., and co-author of the other study. “With standards as high as they are in some other states, it’s likely that most of the schools will be under sanction.”

States with high standards may be forced to degrade them in order to minimize the repercussions of having hundreds of “failing schools.” Educrats are calling for some revision in the law.

[South Carolina State Superintendent of Education] Tenenbaum said, “We don’t want to lower our standards,” and added, “We think everyone ought to have as high a standard as we do.” But, she said, “There ought to be some national clearinghouse so we can have a comparative measure.”

This is probably the biggest problem with NCLB. The penalties are set by the federal government, but the states set the passing requirements. There is just no way that this arrangement can work long term.

Of course, if the federal government would just get out of the education business, none of this would matter.

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