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No Child Left Behind Gets "Unsatisfactory" Grade on 5th Birthday

January 8, 2007

Today's the fifth anniversary of the federal "No Child Left Behind" education bill, and over a hundred children's and education groups nationwide are calling on the new Congress to fix what they say are major flaws in the program. Ohio Education Association president Gary Allen says the program had good intentions, but funding shortfalls are crippling "No Child Left Behind." He claims the plan will cost Ohio school districts $1.3 billion in unfunded mandates by 2011.

"As a result of that, there have been program cuts, lay-offs in staff and reductions in student services."

Other opponents of "No Child Left Behind" say it's punishing the schools that need the most help, and is driving teachers away from the profession.

Monty Neill with the national education group Fair Test notes that in addition to funding problems, "No Child Left Behind" relies too much on high-stakes standardized tests.

"There's too much teaching to the test, and it's narrowing the curriculum. People are hearing a lot about it at the local level because parents hearing about it from the kids and teachers are talking about it."

Supporters claim it makes schools accountable for their performance; Allen says without sufficient federal funding, the plan can't provide the smaller class sizes and other services needed to boost performance.

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OH