Monday, April 09, 2007

NCLB: Lacks evidence

Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond Simon feels that
“Testing critics ignore [NCLB’s] ‘positive record”
(April 4). Not so. It is Secretary Simon who appears
to have ignored the record.

Simon claims that since NCLB (No Child Left Behind)
was passed, “reading and math scores have risen
sharply and achievement gaps have narrowed to record
lows.”

Several recent reports have concluded that the
increase in reading on national tests occurred before
NCLB went into effect, not after. There has been no
improvement in reading on national tests for fourth or
eighth graders since NCLB went into effect. In math,
the rate of improvement after NCLB is the same as it
was before NCLB. The research also shows that the gaps
among racial groups and between high and low poverty
groups are mostly unchanged.

Just in case Simon and his colleagues at the
department of Education have missed this research,
here is a reading list:
1. Bracey, Gerald. 2006. The 16th Bracey report on
the condition of public education, Phi Delta Kappan,
October.
2. Crawford, James. 2007. Selling NCLB: Would you buy
a used law from this woman?
http://www.elladvocates.org/index.htm#selling.
3. Fuller, Bruce, Gesicki, Kathryn, Kang, Erin, and
Wright, Joseph. (2006). Is the No Child Left Behind
Act Working? The Reliability of How States Track
Achievement. University of California, Berkeley:
Policy Analysis for California Education
4. Krashen, Stephen. 2006, Did reading first work?
http://www.districtadministration.com/pulse/commentpost.aspx?news=no&postid=17349
5. Lee, Jaekyung. 2006. Tracking achievement gaps and
assessing the impact of NCLB on the gaps: An in-depth
look into national and state reading and math outcome
trends.
Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights Project at Harvard
University.

Stephen Krashen
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