Contact Me By Email

Contact Me By Email

Thursday, June 16, 2005

New York Daily News - Ideas & Opinions - Stanley Crouch: No Child Left Behind is starting to work

New York Daily News - Ideas & Opinions - Stanley Crouch: No Child Left Behind is starting to workNo Child Left Behind is starting to work

Dan Rose, a businessman and philanthropist, recently visited China and became aware of the fact that the Chinese are now graduating 10 million high school students a year who cannot speak English, but who can read and write English. His question was, "I wonder how long it will take the Chinese, at this rate, to end up with more people who can read and write English than we have in the United States?"

Those sorts of education "miracles" are fairly easy within totalitarian systems because an unambiguous decision at the top can lead to successful practice if the necessary components are in place. Those who are not attracted to totalitarian methods in order to achieve success should take heed of what is now happening in the world of American public education, where reform is taking place against the will of the teachers union.

The United Federation of Teachers has said that No Child Left Behind is a measure that has been misapplied since it was enacted. But the recent spike in math and reading scores for states including Delaware, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois and yes, New York, says otherwise.

The union is invaluable in terms of representing teachers as a labor group for collective bargaining. But the union also is the greatest enemy of public education. It has far more often than not fallen into the pit where unions can become menaces to society because quality work takes a backseat to keeping its membership employed and increasing its benefits.

Only a fool would assume that teachers or any other labor group could get a fair deal if they had no numbers behind them. For all of the screaming and hollering, however, No Child Left Behind, as recent figures and testimony have shown, is beginning to work because the bill takes the position that failure is no longer an acceptable option.

What this proves, and what we must learn from the beginnings of success in this arena, is that the only way that ingrained social programs can be effectively handled is by city, state and federal government committing to measurable change. Beyond racism and class contempt, there is the ongoing problem of laziness, the presence of layabouts disguised as teachers who disgrace the profession and bring a bad name to those many serious educators whom they hide behind.

In capitalism, things change as often because of money as they do because of morality and deep thinking, so it is always smart to attach money to morality and vanguard conceptions. Then the choice of profit over deficit can bring about better results. Once the federal government made it clear that no funds would be forthcoming unless there were improvements in student performance - which meant improvements in teacher performance - things began to change.

We have now been freed from a debilitating illusion, which was that those children unfortunate enough to be born the wrong color or in the wrong class were just incapable of learning. When we get rid of that kind of hogwash, we get ever closer to realizing the potential of our richly diverse population and move closer to putting up a good fight for the world markets that places like China and India intend to take as many of as they can.

Originally published on June 6, 2005

No comments:

Post a Comment