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We are in an era of radical distrust of public education. Increasingly, we turn to standardized tests and standardized curricula-now adopted by all fifty states-as our national surrogates for trust.Legendary school founder and reformer Deborah Meier believes fiercely that schools have to win our faith by showing they can do their job. But she argues just as fiercely that standardized testing is precisely the wrong way to that end. The tests themselves, she argues, cannot give the results they claim. And in the meantime, they undermine the kind of education we actually want.In this multilayered exploration of trust and schools, Meier critiques the ideology of testing and puts forward a different vision, forged in the success stories of small public schools she and her colleagues have created in Boston and New York. These nationally acclaimed schools are built, famously, around trusting teachers-and students and parents-to use their own judgment.Meier traces the enormous educational value of trust; the crucial and complicated trust between parents and teachers; how teachers need to become better judges of each others' work; how race and class complicate trust at all levels; and how we can begin to 'scale up' from the kinds of successes she has created.
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.
Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act Is Damaging Our Children and Our Schoolsby Deborah Meier George Wood
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act is counterproductive and destructive to the goal of improving public education in the United States, collectively argue the contributors of these six essays. They describe how the "test and punish" regime of the NCLB, because disabilities are strongly correlated with poverty, will further damage the ability of schools in poor communities to provide for their students as they fall behind in testing scores and are punished for it financially. They also explore how the NCLB can be considered a Trojan horse for school privatization and put forth an alternative agenda for school reform.
Teaching the lessons of New York's most famous public school, Deborah Meier provides a widely acclaimed vision for the future of public education. With a new preface reflecting on the school's continuing success.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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