Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act Is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools

Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act Is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools

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by Deborah Meier
     
 

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Signed into law in 2002, the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) promised to revolutionize American public education. Originally supported by a bipartisan coalition, it purports to improve public schools by enforcing a system of standards and accountability through high-stakes testing. Many people supported it originally, despite doubts, because of its promise…  See more details below

Overview

Signed into law in 2002, the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) promised to revolutionize American public education. Originally supported by a bipartisan coalition, it purports to improve public schools by enforcing a system of standards and accountability through high-stakes testing. Many people supported it originally, despite doubts, because of its promise especially to improve the way schools serve poor children. By making federal funding contingent on accepting a system of tests and sanctions, it is radically affecting the life of schools around the country.

But, argue the authors of this citizen's guide to the most important political issue in education, far from improving public schools and increasing the ability of the system to serve poor and minority children, the law is doing exactly the opposite. Here some of our most prominent, respected voices in education-including school innovator Deborah Meier, education activist Alfie Kohn, and founder of the Coalition of Essential Schools Theodore R. Sizer-come together to show us how, point by point, NCLB undermines the things it claims to improve:
* How NCLB punishes rather than helps poor and minority kids and their schools
* How NCLB helps further an agenda of privatization and an attack on public schools
* How the focus on testing and test preparation dumbs down classrooms
* And they put forward a richly articulated vision of alternatives.

Educators and parents around the country are feeling the harshly counterproductive effects of NCLB. This book is an essential guide to understanding what's wrong and where we should go from here.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

When the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was signed into law in 2002, Bush administration supporters hailed it as a giant step for American education. Recently, though, critics have argued that NCLB enfeebles the very schools and students it purports to empower. This sharply targeted book argues that the bill's "system of standards and accountability" actually handcuffs teachers and dumbs down classrooms. Moreover, this devastating brief shows how NCLB weakens public education and reduces students into rote-minded test takers.
Publishers Weekly
In this slim but impassioned manifesto, the founding members of an education think tank argue that the controversial and underfunded No Child Left Behind Act, as currently implemented, is "more likely to undermine the nation's public education system than to improve it." The first section delineates the "baffling" and unfortunate consequences (e.g., cutting kindergarten nap time and middle school recess) of needing more time to prepare for mandated high-stakes tests. The second section looks outside the classroom at gaps in school spending, public involvement (participation on school boards has dropped from one citizen in 500 to one in 20,000) and student health (black children in Detroit, for example, are 16 times more likely to be overexposed to lead than are their white counterparts). As Alfie Kohn (Punished by Rewards) argues, built-in negative consequences make NCLB "a stalking horse for privatization." In the third section, Monty Neil, executive director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, offers alternative plans that place accountability more firmly on the shoulders of the state than on the test performance of the child. Though occasionally repetitive, this book is a clarion call for a public education that serves all children well and a reminder that our functioning democracy is at stake. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"This is a valuable and insightful look at the most sweeping school-reform policy in 35 years." —Booklist

"This book is a clarion call for a public education that serves all children well and a reminder that our functioning democracy is at stake." —Publishers Weekly

"Many Children Left Behind does a chilling job of summarizing the case against the NCLB educational law and the policies put into place during George W. Bush’s administration. It reveals the fallacies, the hidden agendas and the distortions embedded in this act . . . This book marks an important stage in the dialogue about the future of American education." —NoChildLeft.com

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807097175
Publisher:
Beacon Press
Publication date:
09/29/2004
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
202 KB

Meet the Author

The editors and contributors are all highly respected experts in education and founding members of the Forum for Education and Democracy, a nonprofit organization for social change.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act Is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools"--the title says it all. This is a compelling book. Parents, teachers, future teachers, professors, and graduate students (like me) should read this book and write your congressman. You will want to after reading this. An assembly of essays in language the layman can understand, but research-based for the educators, this is an easy and quick read. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book, "The biggest problem with the NCLB Act is that it mistakes measuring schools for fixing them" (Darling-Hammond, p. 9). I want this on a bumper sticker. It was a little disheartening that I found 8 typos, left out words, or grammatical errors in a book about education. And the book was edited by two principals! Nevertheless, the content of the book is excellent. I showed this book to my professor and he immediately wrote down the title and ISBN number so he could order it.