A compromise on No Child Left Behind

How about this compromise. Once a child is in the 5th or 6th grade and has passed benchmarks then let’s quit testing him or her. No more NCLB testing, none, zip, nada. This does a lot of positive things yet retains the NCLB idea (albeit corrupted one) of leaving no child behind.

The positive effects are easily seen.

It saves a fortune. It guarantees that once kids can read decently well the schools can focus on broadening their education and not waste horrendous amounts of time and energy testing them over and over. It allows more time and energy and resources to be directed at students who really are behind. Now, much of that effort is diluted on kids who are doing just fine. It creates a different standard for public accountability, one more applicable to good education. “My kid passed benchmarks, now what is she getting?” “My kid hasn’t passed benchmarks. What are you doing to bring her up to grade level?”

I imagine you could even put together a test for some younger children which tested to see if they were at 6th grade level. Heck, a lot of 4th graders could do fine and then be exempt also.

This idea would certainly make a lot more sense than the resource-robbing and education-subverting mess we have now.

Steve Buel has taught in public schools for 41 years. He served on the PPS school board (1979-1983) and co-authored the 1980 School Desegregation Plan. He has followed PPS politics since 1975.