82 percent of US schools may be labeled ‘failing’ – No Fooling

The number of schools labeled as “failing” under the nation’s No Child Left Behind Act could skyrocket dramatically this year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

The Department of Education estimates the percentage of schools not meeting yearly targets for their students’ proficiency in in math and reading could jump from 37 to 82 percent as states raise standards in attempts to satisfy the law’s mandates.

The 2002 law requires states to set targets aimed at having all students proficient in math and reading by 2014, a standard now viewed as wildly unrealistic.

Duncan presented the figures at a House education and work force committee hearing, in urging lawmakers to rewrite the act. Both Republicans and Democrats agree the law needs to be reformed, though they disagree on issues revolving around the federal role of education and how to turn around failing schools.  Duncan said the law is loose on goals and narrow on how schools achieve them.

Russ Whitehurst, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institute, said some states and districts have dug themselves into a hole by expected greater gains in the final years.

I had a woman in one of my workshops who said that the end of the world was coming on December 31, 2014 because on that day the world would have reached perfection because every child in America would be reading on grade level.  Politicians need to stop delivering sound-bite solutions to highly-complex problems. While the intention of No Child was well-meaning, its implementation leaves a great deal to deliver.