by David Safier
The Star has an interesting front page article about high school seniors who are waiting for their AIMS scores to find out if they're graduating or not. If, after multiple tries, they fail part of the AIMS test this last time, they don't graduate.
The kicker in the story is, the state has lessened this problem by factoring in the courses students have passed, but every year, they give the courses less weight and the AIMS test more.
Here's the dirty little secret about all this. States, Arizona included, have done everything they could to make the tests easy to pass and to build in loopholes for those who didn't pass, with the promise that they'll gradually close the loopholes. It's the educational equivalent of those subprime home loans where you pay some of the interest and none of the principal for years until the big balloon payment comes due, and you're screwed. The Star article is about that educational balloon payment coming due.
The same has been true with No Child Left Behind. The states have kept their school's passing rates high by saying they were implementing the federal guidelines slowly. In the next few years, the balloon payment comes due, and few states have the educational capital to pay it off.
NCLB was never a serious program. It was always a plan to embarrass public schools and ease the way toward greater school privatization. Now with a Democrat in the White House, the program is bound to be modified and scaled back. Arne Duncan has said as much.
But wasn't it fun to watch Bush cock his conservative head to one side compassionately and talk about "No child left behind"? Like he meant it?