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Students deserve better

September 09, 2008

Re "Half of high schools met U.S. goals," Sept. 5

The fundamental flaw in No Child Left Behind is that it uses a target model to measure growth. By 2014, almost every school in the nation will "fail." Targets that call for a 100% high school graduation rate will only be met in rare instances. Targets that call for 100% proficiency in subject matter will fare likewise. According to the various standards set by the act, there are some 25 ways that a school can "fail." It makes the whole system something of a joke.

Educators feel set up to fail. Schools that have made great progress still wind up in program improvement. It's more than a little demoralizing.

California uses a growth model rather than a target model. This is a much more fair approach than No Child Left Behind. For the act to have credibility with educators, it needs major revisions. Moving to a growth model would be a step in the right direction.

The teachers I know work incredibly hard. They are more than dedicated to improving student achievement. But the system conspires against them. They, and the students they teach, deserve better.

James A. Spence

Assistant Professor

Chapman University College

Hanford, Calif.

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