Article by By Cynthia Howell
Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the president of the National Education Association, said Monday that the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 has “doomed” students — primarily those who are poor and members of minority groups — to schools that are “testing factories.”
“For millions of students, the purpose of school is to hit your number,” said Garcia, who called for Congress to change the law in her speech Monday to almost 200 people at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock.
Garcia said the act, which requires every state to test students in math and literacy and penalizes schools that do not meet annually escalating achievement goals, is the “most absurd bipartisan mistake Congress ever made.” She repeatedly referred to the law as “no child left untested.”
“You are experiencing what can happen when you don’t hit your quota of kids that hit the test scores on standardized tests,” said the former food-service worker and elementary school teacher.
“We don’t want to pretend that we don’t have problems in many of our schools,” Garcia said. “We are struggling to find answers so that our students can succeed. But school takeovers and calling in experts or outsiders who don’t know your children will not solve the problem.”
She said takeovers in other places typically “give the illusion” that something is being done. She said people are brought in at great cost to the state-controlled school system and work for five or six years. “Then they leave and nothing has changed,” she said.
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