The deadline to submit feedback on Congressmen George Miller's and Buck McKeon's draft NCLB proposal has come and gone. Still, it's never too late to have an impact on the reauthorization debate--if you're Al Shanker, that is. Richard Kahlenberg, whose biography of the late Shanker is now available, believes that, were the former AFT president still living, he would still be a powerful advocate for standards-based reform. But he would voice serious concerns about NCLB version 1.0. Kahlenberg, channeling Shanker, takes particular umbrage at the lack of accountability for students themselves. "Imagine saying we should shut down a hospital and fire its staff because not all of its patients became healthy," Shanker wrote in the early 1990s, "but never demanding that the patients also look out for themselves by eating properly, exercising, and laying off cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs." Unfortunately, rather than taking Shanker's advice and adding consequences for kids, Miller and McKeon seem more likely to subtract sanctions for adults--which means that the "hospital" will remain open, even as the patients grow sicker. Someone send these congressmen a copy of Kahlenberg's new book!
"No Child Left Behind: What Would Al Say?," by Richard Kahlenberg, Education Week, September 5, 2007