I spoke with Bob Mooneyham, the executive director of the National Rural Education Association, today, and came away with some things to ponder.
Now, I’ll say from the get-go that I’m not gonna take the time to compare test score trends from a decade ago to today’s to post in a blog. But I may revisit the topic for a future story.
By Mooneyham’s reckoning, the one-size-fits-all formula of No Child Left Behind Act actually stifled progress Oklahoma and other states already were making — in some cases, had been making for some time.
I’ve heard this argument before; I just didn’t realize it may apply here. Typically, those who must implement NCLB prefer to focus on the progress the state has made since its passage than the progress that could have been made (or perhaps not made) had the state been left to continue doing what it had been doing.
I’m sure the law puts them in an odd place — defending accountability measures with which they may justifiably disagree – but that’s nothing new for public servants.
I can’t say I have ever picked up on this from state education officials, but I can’t imagine it’s not at least somewhat true. Push for (or fight against, as the case may be) reforms only to see them pre-empted by federal law.
“It changed the reforms that were already in place,” Mooneyham said of the 2001 act that required a range of targets for schools and districts to meet. “If anything, the one-size-fits-all strategy of No Child Left Behind was counterproductive,” he said.
Was Oklahoma making more progress before NCLB than it is now? Is it making enough progress now? How would things have been different had NCLB not been introduced?
I don’t know the answers to these questions but am curious about what others think. Click on my name to e-mail me or call me at (405) 475-3364.