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“No Child Left Behind” Gets a Failing Grade from WI School Chiefs

September 13, 2007

While Congress works on renewal of the "No Child Left Behind" Act, Wisconsin's school superintendents are giving the law a failing grade. Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators' Director Miles Turner testified today at a State Senate hearing on the law. He told lawmakers that "No Child Left Behind" relies too much on standardized tests to measure student success, which does nothing to improve the quality of education.

"The notion that you can measure a pupil's learning and a students success by using standardized tests in a very limited environment and limited basis is extremely naïve. The entire law is flawed."

Turner contends there are proven ways to improve student performance that are ignored by the Act, including smaller class sizes, increased parental involvement, and teaching according to the individual needs of students. At present, he says, "No Child Left Behind" punishes schools when they fail to live up to flawed standards.

"An institution that is struggling really needs more support and more help -- and yet, if their test scores go down, they lose money and resources. That doesn't lead to improved schools."

Supporters of the system, which has been in effect for five years, say it's important to hold schools accountable for student performance. While Turner agrees, he says standardized tests aren't the best way to do that.

Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WI