What if the No Child Left Behind Act works as intended? That's the question addressed by Susan Goodkin in her perceptive Washington Post op-ed, which argues that the law's focus on boosting low-performing students to the "proficient" level (as defined by the states) is harming gifted and talented students who are already far above that meager designation of adequacy. NCLB punishes schools for not improving the test scores of low-performing students, but it assiduously ignores academically gifted youngsters who often languish in classrooms where they are neither challenged nor engaged. Concludes Goodkin, "NCLB may end up producing an entire generation of merely proficient students - a generation that will end up working for the science leaders produced by other countries." This charge deserves to be taken seriously - and examined with empirical evidence - rather than dismissed out of hand by NCLB supporters. Our education system should be designed to help all students achieve their full potential, and that's the only way NCLB will achieve its full potential.
"Leave No Gifted Child Behind," by Susan Goodkin, Washington Post, December 27, 2005