Bush’s ‘No Child Left Behind’
Leaves Behind America’s School Children
That’s what Bush said. But, its not what he’s done.
Ø "That this bill falls $8 billion short on funding for No Child Left Behind is appalling, and makes it impossible for the schools to meet the mandates.” stated House Minority Leader Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. (D-CA). [“Pelosi: 'Keeping Our Promises on Education is the Least We Can Do for America's Children'” Press Release 10/29/03]
o “It underfunds our needs in California by $1.3 billion. In Georgia, by $280 million. … In Arizona, by $168 million. The list goes on and on.” stated House Minority Leader Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. (D-CA). [“Pelosi: 'Keeping Our Promises on Education is the Least We Can Do for America's Children'” Press Release 10/29/03]
Ø "How can a U.S. Department of Education 'blue ribbon school' and a school that earned the [PA] Department of Education's 'best practices award' be told they're falling short when their SAT scores exceed state and national averages, their dropout rates approach zero, and 90 to 95 percent of their graduates go to college?" [Cherry Hill Superintendent Morton] Sherman wrote. [“Battles ahead over No Child Left Behind” Philadelphia Inquirer 11/8/03]
Ø “Tuckahoe Middle School in suburban Henrico County [Virginia] was labeled a failing school under the federal system even though its test scores are among the best in Virginia, with 99 percent achieving proficiency in math, 95 percent in English. If you fall short of one federal standard — like number of students tested — you fail. No middle ground. No Child Left Behind requires that 95 percent of students be tested; Tuckahoe tested 94 percent.” [“Federal law labels good schools as bad“ New York Times 11/30/03]
Ø The federal law’s “one size fits all” requirements do not take into consideration state and local resources, the difference between inner city vs. suburban, city vs. rural, or the challenges of school districts across the nation such as developing test for limited English speakers. [“Rural areas a challenge to education act” The Spectrum (Utah) 12/1/03; “Federal law labels good schools as bad” New York Times /30/03]
Ø In a study by Public Agenda, a non-partisan opinion research organization, most superintendents and principals surveyed said the law is well-intended, but 61% of superintendents and 65% of principals said the law "will require many adjustments before it can work….Nearly 6 in 10 (58% and 57%) say the sanctions and consequences for not meeting NCLB goals are "unfair." [Public Agenda Press Release 11/19/03]
Ø When a school fails to make AYP [annual yearly progress] for two years in a row or more, it faces an increasingly harsh set of punishments. Those punishments include paying for additional individual tutoring, being labeled a "failing" school, transferring students to "good" schools, replacing staff and losing accreditation. [“'No Child Left Behind' is setting up schools to fail” The Topeka Capital-Journal 12/1/03]
California: California law allows parents to request an exam waiver, but federal law does not. If a school does not have at least 95% participation in standards exam, it is labeled “failing.” This leaves California schools at risk for federal sanctions.
Connecticut: Almost 15% of Connecticut's elementary and middle schools did not meet new federal standard for ‘average yearly progress’. Nearly half the state’s high school’s did not meet the federal standards. The Bush Administration failed one school because only 94.3%—not 95—sophomores took the math test.
Kansas: In 2002, Bush failed 15% of schools (representing a majority of state’s students) because the schools did not meet new federal standard for ‘average yearly progress’.
Michigan: The Bush Administration failed school Bush himself had touted for excellence.
Missouri: The Bush Administration failed 50% of elementary schools for not meeting new federal definition of ‘ ‘average yearly progress’.
New Hampshire: Nearly one-third of schools fail to meet federal performance goals.
New Jersey: 75% of state’s high school warned they might not meet federal standards.
Pennsylvania: The Bush Administration failed 176 of 264 Philadelphia schools because test scores did not improve for two consecutive years. 120,000 children eligible to transfer school, but only 1,200 spots are available. Nearly half of PA schools were warned or put on a ‘needs improvement list.
South Carolina: None of the state’s school districts met the federal standards.
[“Federal law puts pressure on schools” Philadelphia Inquirer 11/28/03; “No Child Left Behind Law evokes anger, Contra Costa Times 11/16/03; “U.S. flunks top Metro schools” The Detroit News 11/30/03;, 11/6/03; “Thanks, but no thanks,” Christian Science Monitor Nov. 25, 2003. “Battles ahead over No Child Left Behind” Philadelphia Inquirer 11/18/03; “188 schools fall short on AYP report” The Post and Courier 12/18/03; “Nearly one-third of N.H. schools fail to meet performance goals” Associated Press 11/13/03; “81 state high schools fail federal goals” New Haven Register 12/18/03; “'No Child Left Behind' is setting up schools to fail” The Topeka Capital-Journal 12/1/03]
Ø Republican lawmakers from the National Council of State Legislatures, who consider the law a violation of states' rights, took their complaints to the White House in November, where they got a chilly reception. [“Resistance grows to education law: Schools refusing to comply with accountability demands” Associated Press 1/1/04]
Ø “(NCLB) is a law with a good name, but it’s a bad law,” said President, Merchuria Chase Williams [Georgia Association of Educators]. “There are no resources, and the standards are designed to destroy the public school system as we know it. If NCLB is not modified, it should be overturned.” The National Association of Teachers has drafted legislation so that states have flexibility in workable and “realistic” standards of accountability. [“Georgia Association of Educators take aim at No Child Left Behind” Rockdale (GA) Citizen 11/18/03]
Ø " NOT ONE SINGLE DEMOCRAT voted to support this affront to our nation's education needs. And with good reason.” stated House Minority Leader Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. (D-CA). [“Pelosi: 'Keeping Our Promises on Education is the Least We Can Do for America's Children'” Press Release 10/29/03]
“[W]hile President Bush and
Republicans in Congress continue to talk about education reform, ...millions of
school children are being left behind every day because the President and
his congressional allies are more interested in rhetoric than in reform.”
-- Rep. George Miller (CA-7),
a principal co-author of the No Child Left Behind education reform law [Miller Comments on No Child Left Behind Two-Year Anniversary Press Release, 1/05/04]