Education Reformers Butt Heads over No Child Left Behind

December 29, 2007 11:27 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
In the summer of 2007, Jonathan Kozol, author and former teacher, went on a hunger strike to protest No Child Left Behind. However, in the eyes of one pundit, Kozol is more of a problem than the legislation he attacks.

30-Second Summary

According to Jonathan Kozol, who lost at least 29lbs on his "partial" hunger strike, nearly half of new teachers in urban schools leave teaching in their first five years.

He argues that they depart because they are forced to “teach to the test” in line with the strictures of No Child Left Behind.

Indeed, a 2003 report estimated that fifty percent of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years.

The report also found that “high-poverty public schools have far higher turnover rates than do more affluent public schools.” And urban public schools find it slightly harder to retain teachers, too.

There seems little argument that the attrition rates are too high. But Kozol does not represent a universal consensus as to why.

Author and fellow at the Manhattan Institute Sol Stern contends that the real culprit is inadequate training; that and the fact that many teachers are only in those tough city schools temporarily as part of an alternative certification program.

Stern writes, “Contrary to Kozol’s impression, testing hardly registers as a reason for leaving. One factor that does turn up, however, is the lack of adequate training that teachers get from education schools.”

Sol argues that Kozol, whose books are a mainstay of teacher training syllabuses, is only compounding that problem. His titles are, writes Sol, “brimming with misinformation about the causes of school failure.”

The No Child Left Behind Act came into law in 2002 as the flagship education policy of the Bush administration. It provides extra funding for schools that demonstrate “adequate yearly progress,” as measured in standardized tests. The intention was to bridge the achievement gap between socio-economically disadvantaged students and those from more affluent backgrounds.

Headline link: Kozol’s campaign

Background: ‘Why I Am Fasting’

Opinions & Analysis : Why are teachers leaving?

Reference Material: Attrition rates and NCLB

Related links: Dissatisfaction with NCLB

----------- Advertisement -----------

Professionally printed business products

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines