Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Lanham, 2005

Zimm Questions:


What is the evidence that NCLB is good?  They invoke social sciences.  What is their research base?  Look at how they discuss teaching qualifications.  Why do they emphasize it and why did it not show up in Meiers? 

It is history.  What selections does she make and story does she tell? 

It is a bipartisan story.  Why is that relevant and what does that convince you of or fail to convince you of? 2- 3 pages



AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress  HQT – Highly qualified teacher

AMO - annual measurable objectives – SES Supplementary Educational Services

The format of the opening is very sharp.  This is in strong contrast to the loose thinking and poor writing of Tyack in Many Children Left Behind’s introduction. 



            They want Bachelor’s degrees to replace teaching credentials.  They want national tests and AMOs to be done statistically so that we can get an idea of trends.  Do they back up these claims?  They say they respect local autonomy, and then say they do not. 


CH 1. Chubb, Saving No Child Left Behind-------------------------------

One in ten schools is facing sanctions, he is happy to report.  (1)

A third are at risk of sanctions!!


            Chubb has provided no evidence of the need or that NCLB is the remedy.  The first principle of NCLB is accountability.  Schools are accountable for educating, not just delivering content.  If the school is taught by competent teachers, is that not delivering education?  Where are student and parent accountability?  Beyond that, does this threatened accountability really matter to unionized teachers?  It seems that this is another in a series of paper tigers that motivates administrators.  But the teachers, and more importantly, the students, are not threatened. 

            Choice is the ultimate remedy.  This is a solution that is totally unrelated to testing.  Chubb’s argument should document the evidence for each separately.  Students do not attend public school tutoring.  Will they be benefited by not attending private tutoring?  We need evidence.  Is the ability to choose schools the reason that wealthier students do better?  How do we know? 

            My school was an II/USP school.  We hired very lavish consultants who gave weak staff development.  This development was an insult to all involved.  We set up tutoring as a part of this process.  We are not allowed to force tutoring upon students.  We identified the failing students and notified their parents of the tutoring.  We set up a system whereby the parent’s would be notified if the students did not show up for tutoring.  They come when they want, and if they want.  Mostly, they do not want to come to tutoring after school.  Chubb, at any rate, says it is too early to tell if the tutoring provisions will work. (26).  He says that schools have an unfair advantage when doing SES (having facilities they can do it cheaper).  Does that mean that he wants to spend more?

            They admit that the NCLB process in California has not improved scores.  They blame it on the reform efforts not being “focused on reading and math achievement.”  Then they show that another plan was implemented for II/USP schools.  As it is early they have no evidence it will work.  Their other study shows around 2.5% growth.  They admit that this is negligible and the evidence that this growth is due to NCLB is a statement by the Council of Great City Schools.  This is not convincing.  They want to make AYP a predictor of meeting the target.  But this is not intervention.  So they gleefully wait for the train wreck without remedy.  Wouldn’t you want evidence that a train wreck was going to cause improvement before you staged one? 



            If the provision allowing people with bachelors to be teachers does not go through, then fulfilling the HQT requirements may be impossible.  If, when school choice is available, parents do not transfer students, how does this reconcile with his statistics that demonstrate that they want choice?  NCLB does not accept capacity as an excuse for not accepting students.    That is setting the groundwork for war.  If everyone from a failing school wants to go to a great one, the great school will be destroyed.  Chubb says that choice provides direct and immediate relief to students.  Will this only send them to a school they destroy? 



            No evidence backs up title one.  Districts are supposed to submit evidence but do not. And when they do it is not easily deciphered due to a lack of benchmarks.  I wonder what Meier would say to that.  Instead of closing the Department of Education he commissioned A Nation At Risk.  That report made education a national issue.  They tied achievement to the promise of equality and thus made it a Civil Rights issue.  Southern Governors, including Clinton, became champions of school reform.  These states started to use NAP for assessment.  NAEP started in 1970, but the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) changed it.  Bush got fuzzy standards to be accepted and a commission co-chaired by Romer started to concretize them. 

            Many people say the Texas success was based on student drop-out rates being increased.  The Grismer study found that Texas and North Carolina had made big gains by implementing Goals 2000.  Foundations that advised Gore and Bush are big power players.  Finn of the Fordham foundation said that Title 1 had made no measured gains for 100 billion dollars. He said parents and states should decide how reform happened.  He also called for tested results, not regulation compliance being the benchmark for success.  Rothman said we should hook federal dollars to results for leverage.  NCLB was passed under Bush in 2001. 

            From sports teams to business leaders have known that measuring performance matters.  Does that speak to choice or the NCLB law? 


CH 3 Standards, Testing, and Accountability by Herbert Walberg

Many factors have tied together successful schools.  He provides a list of 6 – 7 characteristics.   We are not told which characteristics or how their manifestation of higher scores came about. 

On page 58 his evidence of achievement is either about scores or about the setting up of the system.  By his failing to specify, I guess it is setting up the standards or he would be crowing. 

Large numbers of items can be used to avoid teaching to the test.  What is wrong with teaching to the test. I found this frustrating. 

Test scores, it was shown in Colorado, are volatile.  (66). 

  If any subgroup’s scores are below expected proficiency levels, the school may still get AYP if 10 percent of he subgroup ave gained proficiency since the last test (67). 


NY state spends much more per child on education than Montana,, but has lower test scores.


He is talking about reporting procedures and details that are not important to me.

His recommendations are similar to the other’s.  He refers to the evidence for success at the beginning of his article.  I must have blinked and missed it.  If it was the 4,000+ that did well due to a million factors in N.C and TX, it is not convincing. 


CH Four – Adequate Yearly Progress: Refining the heart of NCLB, by Caroline Hoxby-----------------------------------------

How do they measure LEPs? 

Her recommendations are 1) Tie to NAEP  2) Use AYP to see if the goal of 2014 is going to be met.  We need to get the results back to the schools.  Include students that do not take the test.  She has fairness formulas for kids that have not attended or just transferred in. Her new twist is rewarding schools that test a high proportion of their students take the test to avoid purposeful exclusion. 

She talks of the disparity between states that set the bar high and those that set it low.  We must hold good faith with those that set it low, but we can publicize the contrast with NAEP.  She suggests publicizing the progress towards the 2014 goal with charts.  That means those with low state tests will be exposed.  

Some are hurt by every year reporting and some benefit from it. 

She also says we should add in the lowest score when people do not participate to penalize them


CH 5 HANUSHEK – Impacts and Implications of State Accountability Systems


He will show with schools that implemented accountability systems before NCLB that it works!!  He will show that it works when there are consequences.  Hispanics gain the most and Latinos gain the least.  He looks at NAEP and guesses what the score of a student that scored X in 4th would typically get in 8th.  Then he looks at school accountability, but not student accountability. 

He has charts on page 102 that show the differences caused by reporting and reporting with consequences.  The differences are miniscule.  Blacks gaining least means the gap will grow between whites and blacks.  That is a dilemma for him.  He does not specify what the consequences he is taking account of were.  If the chart say s that you go up 40% with tests and forty four with consequences added, the trauma of the consequences does not seem justified.  Furthermore, it is hard to believe that tests alone raise scores that much when they mean nothing to students.  What was the threat to teachers?  How did the social pressure get from the score reporting to the teacher?  Might those schools that were doing “consequences” have been doing other things that created improvement also? 


In measuring the impact of schooling on income, it is better to look at quality (test scores) of learning than quantity (years of seat warming). 

He thinks that the evidence shows that higher scores in math and science lead to a more vibrant economy. 


            Changing populations and the pressure to stress those near passing and ignoring those that aren’t near passing (but achieve) bias results.  One obvious way to compensate is to score individually.    Grading teacher by teacher would be another way to avoid these problems.  This would allow merit pay.  You could also limit scores counted to those of people that were there the prior year. 


CH 6 FIXING FAILING SCHOOLS IN CALIFORNIA by Williamson Evers and Lance Izumi


California’s tests are norm referenced.  California’s state accountability system parallels the National NCLB one.  The state is the Academic Performance Index (API) system.  They said the program from 1999-2003 had no effect.    Then, as before, they offer an excuse.  The training sucked and “rather than what teachers are teaching and how effectively.” Which was much like our training.  The new SAIT program has only anecdotal evidence to back it up. 

The outside auditor system was meant to be anything but the sleazy rip off cronyism it was. 

She is right that there was no content in the training, it was half-baked “research based” training. 

There are not enough people to do careful , class by class, teacher by teacher analysis.  Even then, teachers do not behave normally when they are being observed.  The stuff advocated on 120 sounds a lot like “delivering” material and not “educating”. 

The plans designed were subjective and New Age. 

They list the components of the new and improved SAIT program.  It reads like a list of job descriptions for people that have long lunches.  With this program the state checks to see if the providers know about the content of the standards (I guess we’re assuming the teachers don’t).  Then they teach the teachers how to teach by modeling winning lessons for the unenlightened classroom sap.  Then there is a follow up of monitoring three times a year.  See ya!!!

Whereas we had evidence that II/USP did not work, we have high hopes (and still no evidence) that SAIT will work.  Could this program not have been done without NCLB? 


CHAPTER SEVEN – A CONFLICT OF INTEREST: District Regulation of School Choice and Supplemental Services  By Paul E. Peterson


This chapter is going to show why the aversive results of NCLB that have been implemented thus far have had no effect.  This is like communism.  If it was just implemented right you’d see it wasn’t a faulty concept.  The basic idea is conflict of interest. 

Voucher choices were weakened by democratic opposition.

The schools don’t like choice and they are in charge of administering it.  LA transferred 50 of 200,000 eligible. 

Chicago did the only study and the gains were big but the sample very small. 

NYC sent out letters telling parents they could move but very few responded.  Though they sent out 300,000 letters, 25% said they didn’t know about the opportunity.  The number of failing schools is growing every year.  Since you cannot transfer to failing schools the number to go to is dwindling every year. 

Partly this is because test results come so late.  SO notifications happen after school begins.  Overcrowding is the reason districts give for not allowing transfers. 

The tutoring money can be used for other things at the school if not enough students want tutoring.  The free tutoring use is growing.  There is no evidence that the tutoring is effective either. 

Private tutors are frozen out because they do not have access to the lists of who is failing.  He doesn’t like that schools tend to be their own providers. 

One idea is making sure that there are a number of providers so that schools have a choice.  Another is that the money not spent goes back to the Feds to remover the incentive for obstruction.  Providers should somehow be held accountable for student achievement



PAGE 17 SAYS “the quality of the teacher in front of the classroom is the most important determinant of what the students learn (except for the quality of students themselves).  Page 173 says that “among all the factors that policymakers can arguably hope to influence, teacher quality is probably the most important determinant of how much students learn.” 

They have not established that teacher knowledge is the factor that leads to effective teaching / learning. 

Master degrees have not been shown to improve student learning, but substantive knowledge and cognitive abilities have been.  32 states require content tests be passed, but these are pitched low.  In Philly, still, 2/3rds of math and 53 percent of the science teachers failed the test. 

States don’t want hard tests.  Ed schools with progressive pedagogical ideas do not regard subject matter as important.  Teachers, and ed schools, administrators and school boards have power.  They want students in ed schools and to be able to hire easily.

On the other side, pro-NCLB, are business groups!!! 180 Why do they care??  They are not so big on keeping jobs in communities.  Their not caring means those who are passionate rule the day. 

States do not have enough information, because districts were set up to teach not provide stats.  The information provided, also, is bent to show compliance.  States can also say the mandate is impossible without much checking.  The stuff the GAO was able to compile from State info was unbelievably upbeat. 

They cannot grandfather in or count a lot of the veteran teachers.  It is somewhat insulting that this argument assumes that veteran teachers do not know enough to teach middle school English or what have you. 

States can make up their HOUSSE tests to see who is highly qualified. 

The NCLB authors have not been clear on what is required.  They have not been proactive in seeing that the provisions are met.  Have done no enforcement, possibly due to political pressure also. 

The recommendations include no exception for veteran teachers.  The graduation from an education school is also not to count.  There should be an agency that certifies state certification tests based on content. 

The States should have freedom though as that is what has made the silicon valley strong.  That seems to be their ultimate goal, choice, as it is on the last page (196).  In the end, they say figuring out the right rules is not important.  Competition is the solution.  But in the meantime, the government cannot let the competition model work on the licensing thing.  They must centralize it.