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Is your state a tortoise or a hare? the NCLB race - 2014

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Lead from the Start: Is your state a tortoise or a hare? the NCLB race - 2014

Friday, May 30, 2008

Is your state a tortoise or a hare? the NCLB race - 2014

As some people may know there are different types of athletes but they basically break down into tortoises and hares. Tortoises set a goal and work towards it steadily, hares take their time in the beginning then dash to the finish.
A recent study by the Center on Educational Policy describes states' strategies for the dash to the finish line of 100% proficiency in 2014. Their descriptions include, Incremental (like Virginia), Backloaded (like California) and Blended (like Kansas). I can see the value in each. Virginia's seems sensible but I am not sure that raising the pass rate 5% every 2-3 years will necessarily be realistic down the road. There are diminishing returns on some investments and unless there is a financial push to help effects of poverty in the state I am not sure we can make it to 100% by 2014. However, at least we only need to make up about 25% in the next 5 years. California, possible thinking the law would not be renewed, only set pass rates aimed at 100% beginning in 2006 instead of 2002. Kansas may not want to work so hard as to make steady progress but perhaps wants to hedge their bets on NCLB being around in 2014 so they hope to make progress at varying rates. I wonder if Kansas's might be the most realistic? I mean, once the kids start to "get it" won't they make progress easier and progressively at least until the final kick?

Some states are faced with making huge gains in a short time or suffering consequences.
Jack Jennings, the president of CEP described it this way in an EdWeek article:

“Many states may have originally set lower achievement goals for the first few years under NCLB in hopes of getting systems in place or gaining some flexibility from Washington later on, But right now, they are still on the hook for the academic equivalent of a mortgage payment that is about to balloon far beyond their current ability to pay.“
Of course this presupposes that the bill will be intact in 2014. Will it?

IMAGE From The Æsop for Children, by Æsop, illustrated by Milo Winter

Project Gutenberg etext 19994

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