Friday, June 05, 2009

No Child Left Behind - Another Vew

“if it can be tested, it can be measured”

I believe that is what the former education secretary under the Bush administration had stated was the intrinsic success of standardized testing. It was a success in the great state of Texas, and former President Bush saw it as being standardized across the country. Texas is a big state and so is the United States.

However, just as most large corporations use the same logic, “if it works in one subsidiary, we can use it across the entire corporation.” A logic that is prone to fallacy, as in the example of the movie industry with its number of sequels, is there a Saw VII out yet.?

The larger issue that needs to be examined is in the classroom. The student is to be tested using a standard test, meaning the same, across the school district for that grade level. The results tabulated, and if improvement is being made excellent, if not remedial steps in the district with sanctions approaching withholding of federal funds etc. Of course that is not necessarily stated, but it is a simple fact that federal funds were increased for education and those funds would be distributed to the schools that did comply.

Granted there had been challenges to the rule, and the funds would be given from federal to the states. The major drive for change is simple money. In the most simplistic case the students would be taught to the standardized test. The test manufacturer would be responsible to make up a test. Of course what does that truly mean? Responsibility would go from the education district to the test company. The test company would be the responsible party to test the student, with the implication the federal government would set up the parameters for testing. Granted there are a number of testing companies, however, they need to make money and whatever appears the best for the testing companies will of course be the best for the school districts as well.

Money will be the prime motivation for the school districts. If a school district is considered a problem district of course children may be removed to the school to go to another school as well in the ultimate case closure of a school. With most school districts being supported by property taxes, the effect is negligible, except in the case with state grants, which may be supported by federal monies. The need to succeed in the No Child Left Behind Act is even more evident. Succeed, money flows in, do not succeed money flows out.

The larger intent was to educate children and measure their progress. What the lowest common denominator result would be is a system where proof of progress, through increasing test scores, guarantees funds coming into a school district. Test companies would set up the criteria of what to test for and comprehension.