Saturday, February 03, 2007

The miseducation of George W. Bush

The latest edition of the Top 10 Conservative Idiots (#276) is State of the Union special. This one is about Bush's education policy.

The Miseducation Of George W. Bush

We all know that George W. Bush pays special attention to the nation's education. That's why you so often see him carrying books during the summer months and pretending to have read them. He understands his position as America's educational role model and standard bearer. Just listen to how well his No Child Left Behind scheme is panning out:

PRESIDENT BUH: Spreading opportunity and hope in America also requires public schools that give children the knowledge and character they need in life.
Whoa, hold on bub. We've seen how you "spread opportunity and hope" in Iraq. I'm not sure we need that in America, and certainly not in our public schools.

PRESIDENT BUH: Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, preserving local control, raising standards, and holding those schools accountable for results. And because we acted, students are performing better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap.
Which is great, except they're not. According to NPR:
There's no question the law has had a significant impact on the nation's 14,000 school districts. But the results from the tests known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress are more mixed than the president suggested. The administration can point to some modest gains in math and reading among fourth graders, and math among 8th graders. But in 8th grade reading, test scores fell from 2002 to 2005. And the achievement gap between black and white students in that period actually widened a little.

The less encouraging numbers among older students are troubling to many educators.
But hey, let's not forget that George W. Bush didn't have all the awesome advantages of No Child Left Behind when he was a young lad, so you can't blame him for being a little slow. Plus, NCLB is really great for finding and targeting those 17-year-old kids who don't know what they want to do after school but figure those Army commercials look kinda fun. So it's not all bad.

(from Democratic Underground)