Leaving Behind No Child Left Behind?

Members of the Kansas Senate decided to shelve the idea of uncoupling the certification of schools from the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Under NCLB, states must achieve 100 percent student proficiency by 2014. (States are able to set their own standards of what is proficient, a point the Eagle story did not make.)

Here’s the challenge for schools: “In future years, schools could lose [state] accreditation for failing to meet those proficiency requirements.”

NCLB is a case of good intentions colliding with the real world. It is widely assumed that 100 percent proficiency is not achievable. And that assumption is most likely correct. On the other hand, the law lets states create their own definition of proficiency. Some definitions are closely tied to a national standard, the NAEP. Others lower the bar, considerably. That’s understandable, but it also fosters cynicism about education.

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