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Letter: No Child Left Behind had negative effects on U.S. students

Published on April 1, 2015 5:13PM

This letter is written in response to the East Oregonian editorial cheerleading the Smarter Balanced test that is guaranteed to give the test takers an inferiority complex.

George Bush proposed No Child Left Behind in January 2001. It was signed into law a year later. Bush’s plan was to test students, reward improving schools, punish failing schools, and allow parents to use tax dollars for options such as private schools and virtual schools. The key point of the law was Adequate Yearly Progress as demonstrated by improvement in test scores each year.

The punitive section of the law was related to schools missing their targets over time that could result in the closure of the school, turn the school into a charter school or hiring a private company to take over a school.

I came up with a theory that relates to the implementation of No Child Left Behind and its absurd goal of having all students proficient by 2014.

My theory is based on Bush’s goal of privatizing our schools by deliberately developing a program that was punitive and based on failure. Obama continued NCLB and several key corporations have played a role in the privatization of our schools.

Pearson Education bought up many publishing companies but its key purchase was National Computer Systems in September 2000. NCS was a leader in educational assessment and school management systems. That was just the first of several testing and assessment companies it acquired. Pearson also has a monopoly on school textbooks and materials used in education.

What does all of this have to do with the Smarter Balanced test?

It is forecast that 50 percent of the students will fail. This paves the way for privatizing education. The “school choice” issue means that parents will be able to use taxpayer money for options other than public schools.

Pearson owns Connections Academy, Oregon’s largest free virtual school. K12 Inc. was started by the junk bond king, Michael Milken, who was incarcerated for bilking clients out of millions of dollars. K12’s Oregon Virtual Academy is the second largest in the state. Both companies offer content to parents who home school their children.

Schools have become pure drudgery. Each student and teacher is rated by a number based on a single test score.

Is there a relationship between Oregon’s poor student attendance record and dissatisfaction with No Child Left Behind?

Jerry Cronin



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