Friday, April 4, 2008


The Washington Post had an interesting note in Inside Politics by Greg Pierce.

"Forgotten help
Many families of students in low-performing schools fail to take advantage of help offered to them under the No Child Left Behind law, according to an administration report.
Under the 2002 law, families whose children attend schools that consistently fail to meet the standards of No Child Left Behind are eligible to choose another public school or to access free after-school tutoring.
But the Education Department released a report yesterday that found that although the number of students participating in each option has indeed increased, many eligible families aren't taking advantage of the options, reports Amy Fagan of The Washington Times.
In the 2004-05 school year, 1 percent of the nearly 6.2 million eligible students participated in the school choice option and 17 percent of the 1.8 million eligible students participated in the tutoring services option, the report found.
Supporters of the programs have said schools have done a poor job of getting the word out"

This illustrates the fallacy behind no child left behind that policy makers fail to recognize.
The problem is not that schools have done a poor job getting the word out it is that the parents do not have the right priorities.
The biggest indicator of a childs success in school is the parents involvement.

If the parent will not stay on top of the kid and make education a priority in the household it does not matter rich or poor black or white smart or not their chances of success are greatly diminished. The converse is also true if a socially and economically disadvantaged family makes school a priority that child can succeed.

There is very little that the education system can do to overcome this sad fact. If you took a bunch of kids from a poor inner city school and switched them with a buch of kids in an affluent top notch suburban school you would see very little change in the performance of the children.
This does not mean we should not try to reach these children. It does mean we have to be realistic about the outcomes and perhaps develop strategies that address the family attitude at an early stage in the childs development

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