This week I will talk about policy tradeoffs. While an obvious point - that is, all policies have costs and benefits - it is too often ignored in the NCLB reauthorization debate. Supporters of NCLB espouse kumbaya arguments, as if NCLB has only positive consequences for American schools. On the other hand, opponents' arguments suggest that NCLB is killing our schools and eating our children. I want to argue that the NCLB glass may be both half full and half empty, depending on the outcome in question and for whom the outcome is considered. In part, this disagreement is not about the effects of the law, but about what the goals of public schools should be, and the weight these competing goals should receive. Here's the overview:
Monday, Part I: Do accountability systems increase reading and math test scores, and if so, for whom?
Wednesday, Part II: What is the collateral damage of a "laser-like focus" on math and reading scores? As Jim Horn nicely put it, what gets left behind by No Child Left Behind?
Friday, Part III: How should we handle populations for whom grade-level English-only tests may not be appropriate, i.e. English language learners and special education students? What are the implications of testing, or not testing, these children?