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Archive for June 22nd, 2007

clipped from news.yahoo.com

NEW YORK – The scarlet letter in education these days is an “R.” It stands for restructuring — the purgatory that schools are pushed into if they fail to meet testing goals for six straight years under the No Child Left Behind law.

Nationwide, about 2,300 schools are either in restructuring or are a year away and planning for such drastic action as firing the principal and moving many of the teachers, according to a database provided to The Associated Press by the Education Department. Those schools are being warily eyed by educators elsewhere as the law’s consequences begin to hit home.

Schools fall into this category after smaller changes, such as offering tutoring, fall short. The effort is supposed to amount to a major makeover, and it has created a sense of urgency that in some schools verges on desperation.

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Once again No Child Left Behind rears its ugly head. In the land of the free and the home of the brave 2300 schools are deemed failing. No doubt the vast majority of these schools serve urban or rural poor, people of color, or otherwise undeserved communities.
The crisis in American schools is not real, it is, as David Berliner pointed out, one that is politically manufactured, politically motivated. The same people that underfund urban schools rant about how urban schools are failing. The same people that rant about school failures are also behind the movement to privatize education in the United States urging vouchers to pay for religious education and the like.
John Dewey argued that the wealthy in a democracy have the absolute responsibility to provide for the poor the same level of education they provide for their own children. Dewey was speaking about school funding and the gap between funding in wealthy and poor communities. Jonathan Kozol revisited this claim in his fantastic book Savage Inequalities. Nothing has changed in 100 years.

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