Naomi Chudowsky and Victor Chudowsky
Center on Education Policy
NCLB asks all states not only to define "proficiency" in their own way but also to set their own pace for getting kids there by 2014. Some opted for an "incremental" approach whereby students would be expected to make modest gains each year while others "backloaded" their trajectories, telling Washington that they will produce most of the required test-score gains later on. (One might call this latter group the subprime borrowers of the NCLB racket; Gadfly basically did, back in 2003.) According to the Center on Education Policy, half the states took the incremental approach while 23 opted for "balloon mortgages." (Two others, Florida and Kansas, use a "blended trajectory," which really is just a less severe form of backloading.) This may or may not matter, considering the unreality of any state reaching 100 percent proficiency, at least if "proficiency" is meaningfully defined, which of course it isn't, in many states. Get the CEP analysis here.