Most schools could face 'failing' label under No Child Left Behind, Duncan says
DFER's Charles Barone takes issue with the DOE's estimate that 82% of the nation's public schools could soon be labeled "failing" under NCLB:
More than three-quarters of the nation's public schools could soon be labeled "failing" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the Obama administration said Wednesday as it increased efforts to revamp the signature education initiative of President George W. Bush.
The projection from Education Secretary Arne Duncan amounted to a declaration that the school-ratings revolution Bush began nearly 10 years ago is itself in jeopardy because the law has become unworkable. President Obama is pushing to loosen accountability rules for most schools but crack down harder on the worst.
The initiative, a major priority for Obama, has been overshadowed by fights over the budget, health care and other issues. By warning that No Child Left Behind might soon require most public schools to be labeled failing, the administration hopes to galvanize lawmakers to act on his plan.
"This law is fundamentally broken, and we need to fix it, and fix it this year," Duncan told the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. "The law has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed. We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible and focused on the schools and students most at risk."
…Charles Barone, a former congressional aide who helped draft the 2002 law, called Duncan's projection "fiction." Barone tracks federal policy for a group called Democrats for Education Reform, which is generally in accord with Obama's policies on education changes.
"He's creating a bogeyman that doesn't exist," Barone said of Duncan. "Our fear is that they are taking it to a new level of actually manufacturing a new statistic - a 'Chicken Little' statistic that is not true - just to get a law passed. It severely threatens their credibility."