[Paleopsych] NYT Idiotorial: A Victory for Education

Premise Checker checker at panix.com
Tue Nov 29 17:46:38 UTC 2005

A Victory for Education

[Mr. Mencken would surely have agreed that education beyond the eighth 
grade is wasted on the masses, or rather all but the gifted. And that 
parents who are not willing and able to pay for their children's education 
up to the eighth grade have no business having them in the first place. 
The problem with school reforms is that they result in more centralization 
of education and, even worse for the gifted, "accountability" to tests 
that measure what is memorized rather than how well students think. This 
misemphasis harms the gifted.]

    A federal judge in Michigan took exactly the right action last week
    when he dismissed a transparent attempt by the National Education
    Association, the nation's largest teachers' union, to sabotage the No
    Child Left Behind education act. The ruling validates Congress's right
    to require the states to administer tests and improve students'
    performance in exchange for federal education aid. Unfortunately, it
    will not put an end to the ongoing campaign to undermine the law,
    which seeks to hold teachers and administrators more closely
    accountable for how their schools perform.

    Another lawsuit, by Connecticut, is still pending. Moreover, the
    N.E.A. is likely to appeal the decision in its own suit in an effort
    to continue its campaign of vilification against the law. The No Child
    Left Behind program is the first in American history to require that
    states improve students' performance, and shrink the achievement gap
    between rich and poor students, in exchange for the billions of
    dollars they receive in federal aid.

    The teachers' union tipped its hand when it argued in the lawsuit that
    its members were being stigmatized when the schools where they worked
    were found to be performing poorly under federal law. Why does it put
    so much emphasis on the teachers? What about the children whose lives
    are cast into permanent shadow when they have to attend dismal,
    nonperforming schools?

    The N.E.A. and the local school districts that joined the suit claimed
    that the federal government had illegally required the states and
    localities to spend their own money on testing. While it seems clear
    that test development is one of the better-financed parts of the law,
    improving school systems nationwide will certainly require more time,
    effort and money than the country has yet invested. But that should
    not be an excuse for doing nothing.

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