Thursday, April 10, 2008

Changing the Focus of NCLB to Inputs

In this Rethinking Schools article, Monty Neill talks about changing NCLB to focus on inputs (funding and improvement) rather than outputs (test scores) - or at least the outputs as we currently define them.

In terms of making changes, he suggests:
  • Federal funding should be focused on school improvement. (Duh!) But very true. (As opposed to test-based accountability.)
  • Funding to create communities of learners within schools- to focus on closing the educator achievement gap.
  • Strengthening the capacity in which districts and states can help schools.

Worth noting:

"Further, study after study has made it clear that nonschool factors, poverty in particular, overwhelm what most schools can do. Michael Winerip summed up a recent Educational Testing Service study in his New York Times column: Just four family factors explain most of the difference in outcomes. They are the percentage of children living with one parent, the percentage of 8th graders absent from school at least three times a month, the percentage of children 5 or younger whose parents read to them daily, and the percentage of 8th graders who watch five or more hours of TV a day. A decade or so ago another study similarly found a handful of factors explained most of the state differences in NAEP results.

"Gloria Ladson-Billings uses the term "education debt" — the lack of adequate educational opportunity accumulating since slavery and segregation — rather than "achievement gap." The education debt includes the school-based debt. It also includes the housing debt (such as the racial covenants that ensured African Americans could not move to many suburbs after World War II), the medical care debt (pervasive historical and current unequal access to medical care by race and class), the employment debt (African American families earn three-fifths of what white families earn, while U.S. income inequality grows rapidly), and on and on."

No comments: