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No Child Left Behind but Consider the Source

Posted By: Jerome Smith on April 1, 2004
I am sure this book has useful and insightful information. I concur that the subtle designation of "opponents" as "educators" or "unions" is a give-away as to the stance of the authors on educational issues and their attitude toward teachers. But consider the source--the Brookings Institution.

Why is it that no one ever seems to focus on the central need in educational reform to address the issue of ineffective administrators and administration? Academic school leadership is critical in educational reform, but it is not coming, by and large, from school administrators. Administrators and administration suffer from two very major lacks: (1) failure to focus on academic excellence and a general lack of knowledge on how to achieve it; (2) a flawed understanding of how to relate to students and particularly their teachers as evidenced by the widespread practice of an adversarial rather than supportive relationship with teachers.

To solve the problems NCLB admirably seeks to address we must (1) restore autonomy to the classroom teacher; (2) seek answers to the problems we wish to solve from the classroom teachers who have demonstrated they have the solutions by the successes of their students. In my own teaching I developed a core set of 13 course goals and the lessons to achieve them, including the development of an extensive reading program to raise the reading comprehension of my students. As a consequence, my students rarely dropped out of school. Instead, they were frequently on the honor roll, and successfully attended college upon graduation, even though they were inner city students in Detroit. I have posted my lesson plans, course goals, and teaching materials freely on the Internet at www.readingsteps.com so all can benefit from my expertise.

Over my classroom door is posted the quotation "Pursue excellence without excuse" (Bill Campbell) in a hallway mural by our school's art teacher. That quotation, in short form, tells just what we DO need to do.
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 No Child Left Behind by Scott Hays on April 1, 2004
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