December 8th, 2011
07:46 AM ET

My View: Education's Battle at Wounded Knee

by Steve Perry, CNN Contributor CNN

Editor’s note: CNN Education Contributor Steve Perry  is the founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School and author of  "Push Has Come to Shove" in which he describes what steps need to be taken to ensure that all American schools, whether urban or suburban, deliver a first-rate education to kids.

President Barack Obama has buckled like a bad knee on No Child Left Behind.  When leadership was called for, Obama predictably hid behind the Democratic pillars of organized labor, where he settled for political expedience over education reform.  Providing states with waivers from the accountability that testing brings will not improve teaching and learning in America’s public schools.

No Child Left Behind is the boldest public education policy of our generation.  It’s exactly what I expected to be the hallmark of the presidency of Barack Obama.  Obama ran and was elected on the notion of hope that change would bring.  Implicit in this is that the status quo will not be tolerated. His move to offer waivers to states is a move backward to a time when all a school needed to do to be considered good was to educate the majority of students - a time in which millions of children were left behind.

At its core, NCLB requires schools to prove that all children - regardless of race, economics or perceived limitations - are learning, in order to continue to receive federal money.  The crafters of NCLB believed that these measurements should be standardized and selected by the states themselves.  Where it’s proven that kids aren’t learning, those children must be offered the opportunity to attend schools where children are learning.

The ESEA Flexibility Request Form states schools which have failed to meet goals for adequate yearly progress, or AYP may continue to receive federal Title I funds, whereas George W. Bush’s NCLB would have threatened to take funds away.  Under Bush, NCLB money went to schools with at least 40% of the children living in poverty or schools in need of improvement.  Obama’s flexibility measures will allow states to request these scarce funds for any school they wish.  To continue the bloodletting of NCLB, the president will allow states to take money set aside to “reward Title I schools that significantly closed the achievement gap,” or “exceeded AYP,” and use it to  reward any of the state’s schools.

Since his election, I’ve accepted most of Obama’s decisions as thoughtful responses to the worst options of any modern president.  I support the bailout and have no problem with “Obamacare.”  I also know these wars and the crumbling world economies are not his fault.  Race to the Top is a solid policy.  Sure, it’s unfundable, given the fact that we have the worst deficit in history, but the thought behind RTTP – competitive grants – is awesome.

The president’s rewrite of NCLB starts by gutting the centerpiece through the allowance of waivers.  To be clear, Capital Prep, the school I started and am principal of, could fall short of the NCLB standard 100% proficiency for all students in all subjects by 2014.  Our proficiency rates have ranged from as low as 60% in science to as high as 97% and 100% in reading and writing, respectively.  I should be among the first to welcome his overhaul of NCLB, because these measures will save my job. But NCLB should be refined, not dismantled.  The biggest issue is with the fundamental premise it maintains.  NCLB is clear in that it expects that all children in all schools that receive Title I money will get the same education as measured by standardized measures established by the states. The waivers are rooted in the notion that levels of learning are different for different groups.  During a 2004 speech in Florida, Bush referred to differences in expectations as the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Obama’s executive order presumes that there are inherent and unsolvable differences in children, and therefore teachers who are teaching the least among them must be let off the hook or ‘waived’ from the responsibility of ensuring that all children are afforded the same education, as evidenced by standardized tests.

Look, my sons still want to play-date with the Obama daughters, and my wife still wants to know who does his wife’s hair, so I have no business questioning the president.  I very badly want be on his side, yet I am dumbfounded as to how Obama has let the GOP upstage him on education.  Instead of leading public educators out of the doldrums of habitual failure, the president followed them into an educational past where ZIP code, more than any other factor, determines the trajectory of a child’s life.

Does NCLB need to be tweaked? Of course. The legislation’s almost blind ambition doesn't allow for the nuances of an effective school to be measured, like daily attendance rates.  Good schools have children who want to go to them.  Bad schools have kids who do not.  A symptom of a failed school is low daily attendance. NCLB only takes into account attendance on the day of the test – not at other times.

Adjust the testing cycle. Right now, most schools suspend all instruction for at least one month to administer the battery of state exams. With an already chopped up school year, stopping instruction to take tests is flat out ridiculous. A new testing cycle could offer smaller versions of these tests every two to four weeks. This would allow instruction to continue and, more importantly, provide teachers with data they can use to inform instruction during the school year. The current testing cycle doesn't get the results until July. What can we do with 10th-grade scores in July when the kid will be in the 11th grade in September?

Sure, we can discuss the timeline of 100% of all children proficient in all subjects by 2014. Thirteen years – from 2001 to 2014 - is more than reasonable. An entire generation to fix schools is too long, and now the president is going to extend it? Brilliant, just brilliant. Here's a timeline tweak: Take as long as you want to fix the school you work in, but the American people are only going to send our hundreds of millions of dollars to good schools. So holla when you feel you're ready, while you do your “educational reforming” - we're going to make sure our kids go to good schools tomorrow.

Finally, tweaking NCLB would look like establishing new standards for assessing overall school performance.  This would keep standardized measures, but it would also consider other factors. They might borrow an idea from U.S. News and World Report, which produces an annual list of the best high schools, taking into account various factors.

If that doesn't work, then the president can simply use the checklist that he and Mrs. Obama used to select their daughters' schools. If it's good enough for the Obamas, then that school is good enough for me.

NCLB took accountability from debate to law.  President Obama needs to build upon this.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Steve Perry.

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Filed under: Issues • Policy • Practice • Voices
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Wondering

    I wonder what would happen if parents whose children do not pass a proficient level for their grade, had to pay extra tax money.
    In the discussion of education, parents mostly never get the blame, except from teachers of course. But why should we listen to teachers? I mean they have degrees in education, they get paid crap yet still want to be teachers, they are the ones who are in working deep where we get all of the statistic data, which is being gathered by all of the educational professionals (who 9 times out of ten have never been in a classroom or less than 5 years in a classroom). Why listen to the teachers? Is it because they're not qualified? Is it because they don't understand the situation that's happening right in front of them? Nope, it's because for some reason people in this country want to blame teachers. Like an arm chair quarterback yelling at his/her favorite team how they should play without even understanding the complexity of the game. The power of education has been taken out of the hands of teachers because it’s not politically correct to tell parents that they need to do a better job working with their kids at home. It’s not politically correct to tell parents that their student needs to go to bed at an appropriate time. It’s not politically correct to tell parents that it’s not ok to make an 8 year old responsible for a 4 year old. It’s not politically correct to tell parents that if they can support the children they have now, don’t have any more and so on……
    So what if parents paid more taxes if their kids didn't pass a proficient level for their age/grade. Many would say that would be unfair because the minorities would be paying more of what they don't already have. That's funny because I see less fortunate kids walking around with i-phones, expensive shoes and clothes. Yet they get free lunch. My point is very simple. Parents need to work with their kids. Being a good parent is a huge responsibility to this country. It's one of the only things you can do without a license, yet it has the most impact on all Americans.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  2. Rikkirac

    Children failing in school is not the curricilum or parenting. At no time is the child deveopment considered in the learning process, just because a child is five does not make them ready for school. if a child is born in January he/she may be ready for school, if they were born in August their brains may not be developed enough to comprehend what is expected of them. The social stigma that is put on them for redoing kindergarten thru second grade for retaking a grade is nothing compared to struggling to catch up the rest school life. How can a child meet goals if they continue to fall behind because of an inability to read or understand math. It would seem that understanding the concepts would be more important than grade level.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  3. BigRed

    Wounded Knee was no battle. It was simply a massacre. It was murder. It was genocide. It was government sanctioned racial cleansing. Using Wounded Knee as some sort of comparison to a DOE and USG program dealing with education is disrespectful and trivializes one of the most tragic and shameful events in American history.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:06 am |
  4. Scott

    My only point is this, "No Child Left Behind" was a George W. Bush program!!

    December 12, 2011 at 7:24 am |
  5. Alley Al

    As if teachers don't get the shaft with pay and stress but with NCLB destroying the teaching unions, education will continue to be on the decline and soon we will be in the 40's in global ranking.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:02 am |
  6. Alley Al

    By the way Mr. Perry I am from Hartford and your school, while impressive, does not represent the "public" schools in our city to profess differently does an injustice not only to the children who couldn't get into your school but to the educators/counselors/para's and mentors who are in the gutters fighting the good fight.

    Your nose must bleed alot being that high on your horse. This comment is yours..."Faithfully".

    December 12, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • Wondering

      Of course his school is impressive. He doesn't have to live by the same rules as the public school system. He gets to select his students, which is the cream of the crop of the less fortunate. He can kick kids out of his school anytime with no retribution. He gets the same money as a public school system, but can run it anyway he wants. He's got small teacher/student ratio. With all of these educational perks, he better have an impressive school.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  7. Clif

    Mr. Perry,
    A first rate chef can deliver a gourmet meal to anyone, but only a few will truly appreciate it. A first rate carpenter will deliver a house full of beautiful cabinetry, but there is always someone who feels they can be critical. A first rate designer can create the perfect space for the perfect event, but there will always be someone who would do something differently.

    Those people have access to the best materials, the best foundation, and the best support teams. As a teacher I do not have any such access. I am forced to cope with the children the district chose to socially promote, and to teach them the standards that a bunch of bureaucratic political idiots decided they should know, regardless of any research (for California, this would be Algebra in the 8th grade).

    NCLB has truly destroyed public education. Electives are gone, as we need to "intervene" with students that are not up to the artificially high standards that California imposes. There is no such thing as a well rounded education in our system today, but damn we are doing a great job of teaching our kids to bubble in things!

    For the record, I am trapped teaching middle school math in a California school district. It is sad how I am forced to lie to parents, and students alike, how they can truly be successful if they just try harder. This flies in the face of all available research that says that Algebra is NOT appropriate for all 8th graders, but my district is far too incompetent to care. They will never put students first, only test scores and money matter to them.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Spare

      As most often happens with 'educators', you allow your arrogance to cloud reality. You don't recognize that the failure of our education system in this country, lies directly in your lap. Our children aren't learning, and all you can do is complain about your administrators. You offer no viable, reasonable approach to resolving the education crisis, and you refuse to recognize that, in order to improve the education process, schools, teachers, and administrators must be measured and held accountable for their performance. We trusted you with our children for the past 50 years, and you have failed ... and failed miserably. Now, it's our turn.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:23 am |
      • Befuddled

        If it is your turn, then why don't you become a teacher. I'm sure you would never venture to have someone tell you how to do your job but yet you feel confident telling teachers how to do theirs. That truly is arrogance.

        December 12, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • Epictetus

      Hi. i finished algebra 2 in 8th grade along with everyone else in my class. (Coming from public school in the middle of nowhere hick-town PA.) It was rather easy. If kids did try harder they could be thought algebra. The real problem is in elemntary school, the foundation for a good mathematics education is not laid.

      My sister learned and re-learned division 3 times. including 3rd-4th and 5th grade. That is absurd.



      December 13, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  8. Randall Norris

    I've been there. They are not "all" rednecks 🙂

    December 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  9. allenwoll

    Testing only demonstrates one's skill at test-taking, period ! ! !

    December 11, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Kenny

      Steve Perry and all those who have their fun spending charter school money should look a little closer at all the wasted tax dollars that have been spent on charter schools that have gone broke. Florida alone has wasted more then 50 million taxpayer dollars on charter schools that have closed after corruption, graft, fraud, and abuse of students was discovered in various schools. Of course, the Florida State Legislature will do anything to destroy teacher unions, since all those white trash who run Florida hate the idea of minority children getting a good education. The long term future of numerous children not just in Florida but all over the country will be at stake for another 50 years, until the balance of the difference races in the country in reflected in Congress.

      December 11, 2011 at 9:49 pm |

    Dr. Perry,

    Forgive me for being skeptical of consultants in education. Come down to Bridgeport and teach with me. I bet you that I'm making a greater difference in children's lives there than you do trashing the president on CNN. Didn't see any teaching credentials in the bio on your website. Corporate/political testing programs are a vampire on the lifeblood of teaching: functional communities, dedicated families, teachers, students, and leadership. Unique memorable teachers and unique students. Not lifeless scripted lessons and teachers hiding in mediocrity, doctoring data, or fighting politically for the best classes to avoid being fired for trying to teach the low performers. WHO WOULD WANT TO TEACH LOW PERFORMING STUDENTS IF THEY WERE MORE LIKELY TO BE FIRED FOR LOW SCORING KIDS? Conservative education policies such as the ones promoted in your editorial SUBJUGATE minorities and scare away those who would help them. But not me. - . You're in Connecticut, right? Come on down to Central High School. I'm not sure about whether internet use policies permit me to give my name or room number, but I'm sure you could find me by asking around. I'm the tallest teacher there.

    So- We'll get building principal approval. We'll split a class period. 25 minutes of me teaching *not* to the test. 25 minutes of you teaching to the test. Let the students decide. Or the parents. Maybe even the CNN viewership. Then we'll go downstairs to a remedial "repeater" class and see how it goes there. Show me how your talk is more than just a way to dissolve and privatize urban schools, and I'll listen, believe me I will. Show me how your ideas can do something better than my fully union protected there-for-the-love-of-teaching skills and experience can do. See you in class.

    December 11, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Blake

      I would like to know how this turns out. Also I believe I am correct on saying this but you are a teacher right how do you help your little brother learn in different ways he fails his classes cause some of his teachers styles I help a little but it just doesnt click. Any suggestions?

      December 11, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  11. Principal

    As an educator in my early years I feel n love with the idealistic goals of NCLB. However after almost 10 years in the classroom and several behind the desk it is clear that it was setting many children and schools up for failure. When little Suzie is sent to the office for not having assignments on a regular basis we start to investigate. Her father has never been in the home her mother is on and off drugs and shacks up with whom ever she needs to to provide a roof for her daughter. On that night moms new boyfriend comes home a little drunk and resides to take advantage of little Suzie. As you can imagine homework is the last thing on her mind. This is just one of hundreds of examples that prohibit schools from teaching all students to the same level. Not to mention all students can't reach the same level. Not all athletes can run a 4.5 40 either. It's clear that Mr. Perry like many legislators are too out of touch with reality to make any intelligent reforms. To quote Jack in a few good men. How dare you question the education that you have been provided. Id rather you just say thank you and went on your way. Otherwise pick up a gun (or book in this case) and stand a post.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  12. Ms. W

    Obviously Mr. Perry has no experience in the real trenches of education and is offering his opinion from the advantaged seat upon which he sits. There is a difference between rural, suburban, and urban education. The needs are very different and it takes an experienced educator to see that. The one size fits all concept is not working–and I knew it would not when it was presented in 2000. President Obama is right–for now–to tweak NCLB. NCLB is not working. America has got to stop just making things "look good on paper." NCLB is data driven and those in control can make the data look any way they want while those in the trenches know the truth.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  13. BLN

    You stated that the goal of NCLB was to demonstrate that all students are learning. I, respectfully, disagree. NCLB mandates that all students pass the standardized tests given by the state. This is not the same as learning. I teach students with disabilities, so please forgive me for not agreeing with your opinion. I am in total support of complete overhaul of NCLB. It is completely unfair for students with disabilities. Not only are my students held accountable for progress on their IEP goals/objectives, but also for their score on standardized tests which are extremely difficult for a student with a disability. Alternate assessment are becoming extinct, and the accommodations that students with disabilities are afforded do not level the playing field. Their are so many factors that NCLB fail to acknowledge as external factors to achievement or lack there of. I wonder how much of the general public understands how our need to get ahead has pressured our policy makers to develop a curriculum that is not appropriate for all students from a developmental standpoint. Algebra, for example, is now being taught prior to high school and is the lowest level math in high school. The abstract concepts are being introduced as young as 3rd grade. So, forget about mastering basic math facts or operations, let's throw algebra at them.. Math is just one example of how the curriculum is not appropriate for all students. I could argue the same for reading, science and social studies. There certainly are students who are ready for this level of instruction at this young age, but not all. The main issue is that there is no room for error or deviation from the curriculum framework. Ironically, No Child Left Behind is leaving a lot of kids behind.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  14. HistoryProfBaffled

    Well written article sir, I applaud and share many of your views, however, I see no ties concerning your article and any connection with the December 1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee ( The event is often erroneously referred to as a "Battle").
    It is my opinion that there is no metaphorical, logical, or artistic reason to name your article thus.
    Please consider changing it.
    UCSD and SDSU History dept member

    December 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  15. mahto

    Are you so poorly educated that you do not know the US Cavalry massacred hundreds of Indigenous people at Wounded Knee in 1890? How would that be a battle, and what on earth does this have to do with NCLB? It seems to me that the author should go back to that he can understand history and also learn how to come up with better analogies.

    December 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Beth

      Thank you for pointing this out. As an Indigenous American, I was saddened by yet another attempt to phrase something that was intense and painful for our community to simply describe an argument over education.

      December 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  16. unretired05

    NCLB is working, it is holding the achievers back in their acquisition of knowledge. They may move ahead in grade but not in knowledge.
    The kids know they don't need to perform or learn to move ahead. There is no punishment for lack of performance, only to their classmates. The kids that want to learn are in a class where the teacher spends their time baby-sitting the minority at the expense of the majority. As the kids move through school they see how the ones who do nothing move along with the ones who give it their all. Why bother? I can spend my time playing video games and will still move ahead.
    I have heard a teacher lament about a kid that starts school and truly has trouble learning, even though the effort is there. Maybe they just weren't quite ready for school and need repeat a year to bring their level of proficiency up. She met with the parents and they all decided it would be best for the student to spend another year in that grade.
    Well guess what, the school administration overruled that decision because NCLB would view it as a mark against the school. The administration taught the kid, the parents and the teacher what was important, $. The administration ensured that this kid would struggle to learn through his school life, or he could just move ahead without trying.
    Many people are saying they want the good teachers to stay and the bad ones to go regardless of seniority. How noble that sounds. In fact what the administrators worry about is the budget and their own wages and perks. These administrators are the ones that make the decisions on teacher performance. If they can hire a new teacher cheaper than retaining an experienced one consider it done.
    If you are a teacher the more seniority you get, the more likely you are to get the ax, especially if you make waves for the administration. You won't want to put down roots in the community where you work because you know it will be temporary. You don't want to make waves for the administration, that will hasten your departure. You need to ignore what is best for the kid to do what is best for the administration.
    It is like business, the CEO makes money and if the product or other employees suffer, "So be it."

    December 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Pamela

      Absolutely agree. No Child Left Behind has resulted in "Lowest Common Denominator" education. Every day the best and brightest are ignored while the low-support kids are herded like cattle into for-profit charter schools. Srsly. I'm watching it happen daily. It's not even a secret that this law has hurt education, not helped it.

      December 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  17. Trèbor

    I must say that Steve Perry, has never been in the classroom and taught! He just writes about a system NCLB, that has failed a nation.

    December 11, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  18. patw2100

    Just another liberal wanting to make big government bigger. When are liberals going to learn that WE, The People, are getting sick of them taking our freedoms and liberties away.

    December 11, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  19. CrazyDays

    The problem with testing is it's used to punish instead of gain insight. If my kid is in third grade and tests show he can read at a fifth grade level he should be moved into a fifth grade reading class so he can continue to be challenged. But if the test shows my kid is reading at a second grade level then he should be moved into a second grade reading class so he can continue to get the help he needs at the level he needs. Likewise with math and every other subject. Why do we group kids by age instead of ability? It sucks to be the slower kid in a class full of whizzes and it sucks to be the genius in a class full of average kids not to mention how impossible it is for a teacher to design a lesson plan that fits all these different abilities. Testing should be used to help schools place kids among those at the same level so they can get the same type of help instead of being used to punish the schools and teachers. But at some point we also need to accept certain truths: not everyone will ever excel in every subject. Kids that are good in math tend to have lower writing abilities. Kids that are great in English tend to not be such whizzes in math. Yes, we need math kids to make the next cool gadget but we need the good writers so the rest of us can actually understand the instruction manual!

    December 11, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • JeSuisRacerX

      Them there's some good points!

      December 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  20. PeekandSeek

    Steve a well written article. As usual, you didn't miss a beat! Some of the public schools and parents are failing the children. I don't have any kids in the public school system, but what I see is unsettling. The teaching curriculum has not change in over fifty years. The kids are sitting in their class rooms like zombies, bored to high heaven. None of them can speak, unless they are called upon - complete silence. I have noticed, in the rural areas, some of the kids are being taught in trailers. These trailers don't have any windows, which means no sunshine coming in. Sunshine makes you happy. We must overhaul our education system.

    December 11, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  21. East Bay Ed

    No child left behind was/is a failure. The whole point of teaching is to teach. The whole point of no child left behind is to test. When you subtract the time used to administer and take the test, not to mention the time schools waste preparing for the test, you are talking about 10% of the school year. Do you really believe taking 12 to 15 days out of the school year makes any child smarter?

    December 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  22. Bobby

    Only in America can a kid take and fail a test and someone else can be at blame. It is time to put the responsibility where it should be: on the student and their family. Look at China, South Korea, and Finland, it's what they are doing and, lo and behold, it is working.

    December 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  23. davidr

    You don't read too many articles defending NCLB. And with good reason. It's nonsense. Enthusiasm for NCLB points up the deficiency in educators' understanding of the fact that knowledge is a poor excuse for wisdom.

    December 10, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • livinginva

      Or that "facts" are a poor excuse for knowledge.

      December 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  24. livinginva

    NCLB is a joke because, among other things, curriculum is set by states and standards are set by states. As long as each state is allowed to decide what qualifies as "proficient" in reading and math, the disparity between diplomas in different states will remain. I work in a "good" school district in northern Virginia – students who move into our district from the New England states tend to be a (Virginia) grade level or two ahead, and those moving from the "Bible Belt", tend to be a grade level or two behind. If we really wanted ALL students to meet a minimal competency we would have to implement federal standards – something states are strongly opposed to.

    December 10, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  25. SixDegrees

    "Obama ran and was elected on the notion of hope that change would bring." Or in other words, on an empty slogan that means nothing in itself but allows the overlay of everyone's expectations. A phrase as nebulous as it was meaningless, it is now bearing the only fruit it can – nothing.

    December 10, 2011 at 6:15 am |
    • John H

      Todays extraordinarily high-performing urban charter schools — arguably the greatest story in public education in a generation — bear a curious resemblance to the Catholic schools of Baby Boomer memory. Though they have no crucifixes on the walls and any form of corporal punishment is strictly forbidden, outstanding inner-city charters — like those in the Knowledge Is Power Program, Achievement First, and Uncommon Schools networks — believe deeply in order. They also assign mountains of homework, set high expectations, and pursue academic achievement for all students, regardless of background, with a secular religious zeal.

      December 10, 2011 at 7:48 am |
      • Wondering

        Bwahahahaha! You really need to do some research about your post! Charter schools are public schools that get the same money, but are allowed to operate anyway they want. They can pick their own students, yet they never seem to pick the students who need the most help. They pick the cream of the crop of less fortunate students. They can keep teacher to student ratio's low because they don't have to answer to anybody about the number of students in their school. Privately owned charter schools are being riddled with scandals of cheating. In many instances the charter schools are not outperforming the public schools in their community and if they are, it's usually not by much.

        My God some research!

        December 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  26. Matt

    I was all for education reform until I took an arrow to the knee.

    December 10, 2011 at 5:59 am |
    • Luke

      I was hoping someone else was thinking this

      December 10, 2011 at 10:05 am |
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  30. Jeff

    The NCLB is part of the legacy of the Bush years, with all of the competency in planning and execution of every other bit of his foreign and domestic policy: the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, Katrina, the economy... .
    There have been absolutely no improvements made, in fact all signs point to a worsening, like everything else in his legacy. If you want to improve education you reduce the pupil-teacher ratio. There is no mystery here, no new trend or test that will do better than simply providing students with individual attention, especially early on. Its a formula we've known forever, anyone who tells you they have a less expensive, other solution- must be a politician, or a blogger poseur.

    December 10, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • chefdugan

      Smaller classes are only as good as the teacher standing in front of them. Today's "teachers" are pathetic and nothing will change until they do away with colleges of education and start using liberal arts majors. Obamba is in the hip pocket of the teachers unions and certainly won't do anything to offend them. Want a solution: change the way teachers are taught, do away with the union, get the PTA the hell out of the way, and go back to teaching basics. As a former college president I saw first hand what pathetic graduates we were handed.

      December 10, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  31. wannabe ex teacher

    Please stop having children if you don't plan on raising them. I can't do it for you. Bad parents are to blame for the failing schools in this country. Not the government, not the teachers, not the kids. Lazy parents aren't being held accountable for their. Starting next year, my already meager salary will be affected if a certain % of my biology class (most of whom read at a 6th grade level or lower) don't pass the end of course standardized exam. When I call the parents to tell them when their kid is failing the typical response is "oh ok, thanks bye." Sorry, but your child SHOULD be left behind.

    December 10, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Relictus

      Definitely agree. Why prop up the bottom? Back the top 25%. Help the middle 50%. The bottom 25% need to get some motivation on their own before we waste time on them.

      December 10, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • unretired05

      Sad but true NCLB only means that all are held back.

      December 11, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • HistoryProfBaffled

      I agree.

      December 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Delia

      Put the desks in rows, make the kids face the chalk board....then perhaps they may learn in the classroom. That is how it was done in the 70's and the parents did not have to make us learn. We learned at school! At home we did our chores and homework as assigned by our parents. I believe the school systems are lacking in their teaching skills. IF the students are to learn at home-well they might as well be homeschooled. Today their is too much emphasis in home projects when the children should be learning in the school! We DO pay your salary.. Teachers DO NOT pay mine. Perhaps its time for teachers to find a new career when they feel so many of their students are failing and blame it on the parents

      December 11, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  32. TechNoHick

    Not too sure about the Bomawaiver but, No Child Left behind isn’t any better. In fact I think it has been detrimental to our education system. Our k-12 schools have always been behind most of the world, by their standards. Yet the US turned out the lion’s share of the innovative ideas and business for as long as I can remember. Our kids that have powered the last century were educated in the same school system that the rest of the world scoffs at. Math, reading and science are only a small part of what makes us the greatest country in the world. Creativity and innovation is our strong suite and you get that by exposing kids to a wide variety of subjects and experience. We’re turning out a generation of kids that are going to be really good at taking the Star test.

    December 9, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  33. Matt

    The standardized tests were supposed to confirm that the student had attained the MINIMUM required levels. But when you threaten people's (teachers and administrators) jobs if those goals aren't met, then they abandon everything other than the minimum; what was the minimum is now the de facto standard. The intent and idea of NCLB and standardized testing is great. To the author’s point, instead of removing the teeth from NCLB, it needs to be revised.

    With that in mind, I firmly believer that the federal government is not the place to push these changes. The more local the change, the easier it is to vote with your feet. If your child's school is doing poorly, you can go to a different school fairly easily. IF you are unhappy with how your state or federal government is handling education it is increasingly difficult to move.

    The best solution, in my opinion, would be to eliminate public schools. Let children go to any school they want and pay for that school. The best schools would excel. Yes, I concede the political/practical reality (though I also think it is poor logic) that some lower class subsidy would be required.

    Finally if you don't like where the federal government has taken public education, just wait for what they do to healthcare. The government failed on education and now they want to "fix" the inequalities of healthcare. We will be having this same discussion in 50 years (or less) regarding healthcare.

    December 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • manfred

      Matt, most of your ideas make alot of sense to me. I do see an important role for the federal government to protect less affluent populations from the ongoing consequences of our national race to the bottom, localities bidding against each other to eliminate public expense and further privatize all potentially profitable activity. A "free market" in education instead of successful public schools would seem to further America's march to banana republic status, globalized well educated lords and ladies floating atop a sea of unemployable peons. I've worked in a "free market" for healthcare too. Beautiful healthy people in that African nation, because everybody who got more than trivially sick who couldn't buy an air ambulance ride to South Africa or Europe, died. I think we need to join those ol' Tea Party ladies who'll brain you with their cane if you threaten their Medicare, join the capitalist democracies of western Europe who obtain measurably better healthcare outcomes at much lower cost, and let healthcare profiteers negotiate with a single payer. Your Uncle and mine.

      December 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  34. Dr. Randall Norris, Ph.D.

    Public education in America is 100% successful. It is designed to provide cannon fodder for America's never ending wars and mid level managers in the military industrial complex which profits from those wars. Anyone who doesn't know that is either naieve sp?, ignorant, or both. I am a Senior Fulbright fellow and this is what I teach to my students and tell audiences around the world. The truth.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • manfred

      Sha, dude! You're an animal. Despite the system's success in producing the two products you mention, ( I have played the role of each, BTW), I see still see education as having some success in growing citizens able to maintain a fighting semblance of a democratic republic.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • slinky

      You nailed it.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • RokinAmerica

      S o your a Senior Fullbright Fellow and have a Ph.D. yet you can not spell naive????? OK. Next clown.....

      December 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
      • Relictus

        =) My thoughts exactly.

        December 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
      • JeSuisRacerX

        Ditto here too!

        December 11, 2011 at 9:58 am |
      • Randall Norris

        My spelling never got anyone killed. Has your ignorance at ignoring the main point? Probably so.

        December 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  35. oldACTTprof

    NCLB has hastened the decline of the American education system. Parents have to accept that not all students are meant to be College students. In the 50s and 60s this was not a problem becasue factory (skilled labor) jobs were good jobs and paid well so children were not pushed to go to college. What is wrong with giving better opportunities to the brighter students? What is wrong with giving better technical training to the better technical students? America needs to get back to being a leader in Education, we need to stop NCLB and other initiatives that hold back the brightest students to let the others catch up.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  36. Ryan

    Standardized Testing is a complete joke. Find a better way to ensure learning.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  37. terp02

    The issue is that standardized tests are results based, when education is process based. As an educator I care more about students understanding how to do something, rather than getting the right answer. It's great if a student can answer that 5 x 7 = 35, but can they explain why and/or what the opposite operation is? If they can tell me how to do something that's much more valuable than getting the right answer, because many students (and non-students) make small errors along the way, and denying them points on a test because they may have made one simple error is plain wrong when they may have done everything else correct.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • tlee

      "partial credit" and "process" over "results" sounds good in practice. It may even be appropriate at early grade-levels. At some point, however, results matter. If not in (junior high/high) school, when are students to receive their rude awakening? We can blame politicians and "corrupt business" for the current meltdown, but what of the future? Whether you are working a cash register or designing a bridge, knowing the right process is not as important as getting the right answer. I don't want a doctor who follows the right process but makes a few mistakes here and there. If you are calculating dosages for my chemotherapy, you better get the dosage "right."

      December 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  38. Richard Head

    NCLB had good intentions, but was horribly implemented and managed. It should have said, No Rich Child Left Behind

    December 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Chartreuxe


      December 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Actually, one is left to wonder why the Federal government is involved in such things in the first place. Round-tripping tax money from individual to Washington and back to states to school districts to individual students by way of a maze of agencies is, quite simply, ridiculous and wasteful.

      December 10, 2011 at 6:20 am |
  39. partysstink

    Just my oppinion but i think schools should be lear at the rate you can. My son is in 8th grade and doing work in school most 10th graders cant my daughter is in 5th and doing 7th grade work my second son is in 3rd and is strugling just to get by. Im sad to say my second son is like me in school slow to learn but can learn it given more time. Im happy to say the other 2 kids take after there mom whos smart and a nurse practioner. Im not saying dont teach kids but they all learn at a different level and rate. Maby if this is taken into consideration we can help all kids get the education they need to suceede.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Relictus


      December 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  40. Logical Spartan

    All education funding, program ideas and implementation must be local. The federal government has not place in Education. Any attempt to correct federal programs is just a waste of time.
    It is not about money it is about parents being responsible for their children, period.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Logical Spartan

      I apologize I meant "no" place.

      December 9, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Supra

      Yes but when parents are lazy then we're left with uneducated children which are a burden on the entire nation.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • tjmayer222000

      I really believe that NCLB is a perfect example of how out of touch our legislatures are from the average American. They don't see the child with Downs Syndrome who is working to become a better system through community work programs , the Low socioeconomic child who has to stay home twice a week to babysit his/her infant brother or sister while their single mother works two jobs. They think that everybody's lives revolve around theirs and it is truly sad .

      December 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • litle hippo

      yes the FED. govt does not need to concern itself with matters of education. the STATES should be responsible for regulating that. standardized testing has led to a teaching setting where teachers teach the test and students do not learn REAL lessons.

      December 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  41. History Bear

    26 years as counselor, teacher and coach and I always found that the parents who had a firm grasp on reality and their child's real ability had children that learned, progressed and became productive citizens. Standardized test are generally a sham, except for math and the lack of arts and music has truly helped dumb us down the last 20 years.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • litle hippo


      December 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Relictus

      Standardized tests ensure some basic minimums. so of course unionized teachers are against it. If you cannot pass a standardized test, you learned nothing at all.

      December 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  42. Joe Schwartz

    What NCLB never took into consideration was differentiated learners. The evidence has always shown that students learn by a combination of three methods – hearing, seeing and doing. Some students have their strengths in one of these areas and are weaker in another. The effective teacher and the effective lesson plan accounts for all three. They are able to adapt so that the lesson for a class of 35 students is delivered effectively to students with 35 different combinations of learning strengths.

    NCLB tried to turn student achievement into a commodity – it put all students at the same level, with the same expectations and expected that all schools would deliver the same results. Well – children are not a commodity that rolls off an assembly line. each one is custom-built, custom designed and has their own built-in flaws and strengths. NCLB was not flexible enough to consider this.

    NCLB also gutted arts education, which decimated our intellectual braintrust and removed key learning methods. The advocacy group I've formed, the Design-ed Coaltion, seeks to bring this discussion back to the table. Students cannot be judged based off the results of standardized tests – because there are no standard students. Those students who excel in a visually-oriented classroom such as art often bring those skills into their other classes. Because tests like the HSPA or SAT don't take visual or tactile learners into consideration, when arts classes are cut from curriculum to make way for more math or language, those students suffer. Studies have shown that in schools where there is less exposure to art and design programs, standardized test scores are lower than average. However, rather than bring the art classes back, administrators often cut into them more and add more math and language. This is like digging yourself a deeper hole to find water, rather than digging somewhere else. This has been the standard practice of education since EASA was enacted in the 1960's, and it's what plagues us today.

    December 9, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Bob

      Mr. Schwartz could not have stated it better. My personnel feeling is that NCLB is a black eye for the education system, never being able to acheive its intended goal, and is nothing less than a political ploy to gut the education system.

      December 9, 2011 at 11:54 am |
      • manfred

        Bob, I think you put your finger right on the facts. NCLB is so perverse, enacted by a right wing presidential administration, that it makes more sense to view it as an successful ploy to discredit federal intervention in education than to believe it a sincere expression of a belief that the truism "every child can learn" means "all groups can be made to perform the same."

        December 9, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  43. YourAverageStudent

    This is complete nonsense. NCLB was one of the worst pieces of legislation to ever come from our government in the past 50 years. It doesn't need retooling, it needs to be scrapped and left in Texas where it came from. NCLB replaced an education system with a training system.

    Unfortunately, we are raising a society that will be even more lacking in the critical thinking skills our nation has struggled to improve since we began public education. Throwing money at schools or taking it away based on test scores does nothing to improve the quality of education. It's an illogical conclusion poorly tied to false assumptions about what motives people to perform and seek improvement.

    The professional development of the work force (teachers, administrators, etc) that focuses on problem solving and fresh ideas along with providing incentives to parents and community leaders to partner with their schools will prove to be far more beneficial to teaching our children. Instead of providing resources based on test scores, we should provide them based on deficits in specific fields of study and take an analytic approach to dealing with the challenges in these areas. We should also tailor class structure in order to allow students to focus on their strengths instead of trying to produce carbon-copy students who must master everything order to succeed. (When was the last time you saw a literary author take pride in solving differential equations???)

    Our education system needs a complete overhaul and it may take another generation to fix it, despite what Mr. Perry has to say. Perhaps he should take more time to sit in the classrooms of his school and observe instead of putting just out such arrogant drivel.

    December 9, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • TXpresby

      Amen, brother! NCLB as implemented in Texas with standardized testing that is taught to has ruined the school system. They teach to the test. They teach them how to take tests. All creativity is taken out of the classroom. There is no time for "esoteric" classes like a foreign language in elementary school. Our foreign language class that was taught in k-5th was replaced with an extra science class because it was, wait......because it was now a part of the standardized testing. There are better solutions than standardized testing the encourages students and teachers to cheat. Come up with them! It will help our children succeed!

      December 9, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Art

      Yes, I have to agree that NCLB has damaged our schools by emphasizing standardized test scores at the expense of true education. "Drill and kill" replaces real teaching and students suffer.

      December 9, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  44. Roberta

    I have found Steve Perry to be an arrogant, self absorbed and condescending ass. Comparing education reform to the massacre at Wounded Knee does nothing to change my opinion.

    December 9, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Jane

      I live in Wounded Knee and I agree Roberta.

      December 9, 2011 at 10:48 am |
      • Jimbo

        Most people do not even know what or where Wounded Knee is. It is most certainly not a question on any of the proficiency tests out there as it would mean we teach and value American History. NCLB has decimated not only the arts in education but also, history, civics, health, physical education and much more. It is the worst piece of education legislation ever to be enacted in this country!

        December 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  45. logansmom

    I really cannot fathom where some of these people must have come from that get their voices heard. They must have grown up in a land of drones. I am a high school teacher and I can definately say that none of my students are the same. These are not robots I am programing for the future, they are human beings as wide and varied as blades of grass. Their learning levels are all diffenrent as are their maturity levels. What we are being asked to do is focus on the lower levels while raising the higher level students; give one student work that builds on what they know while another gets a different level of work to build on what they know. This is difficult, but possible. The problem is that in the end, they want the students to all come out the same and that is not possibe.
    Another problem is all of the standardized testing. Let me illustrate what is happening. To someone who does not have to take insulin shots on a regular basis, the idea of giving oneself a shot regularly is very nearly horrific. To a diabetic... it has become the status quo and is no big deal. The students are begining to view standardized testing in the same way. The idea was pure: It becomes the norm and the students will not feel like the test is such a stressor. The down side being, they roll their eyes at it (as in "another one?!") and ask what would happen if they missed that day as opposed to taking the tests as seriously as they should be taken.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • grammarphile

      High school teacher? Please mind your spelling. It is definitely not definately. How has the quality of your training been?

      December 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
      • Grammer?

        Who are you to poke fun? Learn to use commas...

        December 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
      • logansmom

        Looking over our grammatical mishaps, let us look to training. I live in Tennessee and our official educational standards have become very strict (I believe they are currently the second toughest in the nation). Where the problem begins is where the powers that be try to decide how subjects should be taught to implement the requirements for NCLB. We, as teachers, have been given several pages of tables for what is being looked for when we are observed. They fall under different aspects of what affects a child's education from environment in the classroom to how we assess the students at the end of a lesson. My school system has been incredibly supportive in trying to give us ideas on how to improve and constructive criticism from observations.

        December 9, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Wondering

      Thank you "Grammer?" I love it when people point out grammar and spelling errors and have some of the same problems within their own writings. Stop being English teachers and stick to the discussion!

      December 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  46. USAPROUD2=

    I agree, the author of this "article" is insensitive to the horrific violence that occured at wounded knee. This is a display of shamless arrogance. Shame on the Editing Staff for allowing this type of garbage to be delivered unedited!

    December 9, 2011 at 4:04 am |
    • Randall Norris

      That's why it is important to win, so your side can write the history books that call a massacre a battle.

      December 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  47. manfred

    NCLB, as well as this author Perry, seem to make the incredibly arrogant political determination that all children "regardless of race, economics or perceived limitations" ie social class, "can learn" defined as "perform similarly on tests", then support legislation that rewards or punishes schools based on this pious nonsense. Social class isn't an accident that has nothing to do with academic performance of class members as a group. It's generational. It has everything to do with values and life performance including school success. Individuals are not be bound to class membership in our country, but social classes are real, they are defined by values and performance, and legislating punishment to schools teaching low performing populations has lead to the disaster we're witinessing. I can see mandating the offer of equal opportunity to all students, but mandating equal performance is Kafkaesque

    December 9, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • pepka quincy

      Please read about the Follow Through Project. It proves that all children can learn. FT was the biggest experiment the government sponsored. Only one sponsor showed positive results, but the 'educrats' and politicians obfuscated the data through many means. Nothing Kakfaesque about the results.

      December 9, 2011 at 2:52 am |
      • manfred

        Thank you for the tip. I did a quick search on Follow Through. Looks like it was a 1960's- 90's era federally funded attempt to make the early childhood gains of Head Start survive through subsequent re-immersion in a child's world, their home and neighborhood school. Funding to implement it nationwide failed, so it rolled over from a service program to a smaller research program, trying out different classroom management techniques, different approaches to teaching. It produced evidence that rote teaching of basic skills enabled kids to do better on basic skills tests, than did allowing kids to direct their own learning in a resource rich classroom. No interventions proved superior to others in developing higher level thinking skills. It looks like, on a brief review, the stereotypical sociological study, lots of effort to generate evidence supporting (in this case, instead of debunking) what many or most would consider common sense. I'm not seeing any evidence that it even tried to address the enormous difference between "doing better than we used to", and "everybody doing the same", especially since measuring group academic achievement measures much of what defines the groups in the first place – values and performance. I see nothing that contradicts the obvious facts on the ground- legislating kids' academic outcomes leads to unintended perverse results.

        December 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • sdp

      You're quite right. One of my biggest issues with No Child Left Behind was the method of assessment, and even the idea that you CAN accurately assess whether a child is learning what they should be or not. And even more, that it was considered the teacher's fault if a student did not score well enough on the tests. While this may be true some of the time, students learn at different rates and in different ways, so shoehorning all children into one mold only serves to exacerbate the situation.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:45 am |
  48. Anishinabe

    As a Native American educator, I am horrified by the use of the massacre at Wounded Knee as a sloppy nonsensical analogy in this article. CNN, I am vey disappointed you would publish this. It shows a lack of understanding of history, and a lack of respect for our nation's first people.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • mandarax

      I'm not a Native American, but I agree wholeheartedly.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • dvn

      I couldn't agree more. I'm white as well and am well versed on what occurred at Wounded Knee and am appalled at the careless way CNN has allowed this human travesty to be used to ensnare readers.

      December 9, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • History Bear

      I agree. He's probably a product of this educational system he's so fond of that is only really interested in training workers and not educating citizens.

      December 9, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  49. Jiffy

    I used to worry about education, then I took an arrow to the knee..

    December 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Kalen

      Well said, indeed.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • TY

      Nice one, Jiffy. I think you're on to something here! If only we could emulate the educational system in Skyrim. That way, each student would be able to pick and choose the skills they wanted to learn without being told what to do by the feds. They would be rewarded for the areas they excel in naturally. It's actually quite an efficient system. Also, kill or be killed… NCLB is the arrow in the knee!

      December 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  50. Dave

    Man, I replied to a couple of posts but forgot to tell the author what a dumb**** he is.

    December 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  51. Marsha

    Anyone with a brain can see that the schools that can't make the cut need more and better resources. But they go to the schools that are already proficient. This makes people say we need to privatise education. When that happens only the wealthy will be able to get a good education. I have seen teachers trying to teach classes with learning diabled students, students who can't speak English, and students reading at a much lower reading level because the schools are set up where in order to do the paperwork to hold a child back you must know almost from the onset that they are not up to level and won't be able to make it up. All these types of students as well as ADHD in the same classroom. I know it is not politically correct, but why are we teaching people who entered to country illegally? So many problems and people are not using common sense about how to solve them. I applaud Obama for allowing the teachers to make this choice.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  52. Teacher

    I am a fifth grade teacher and am quite effective at what I do. I work no less than 10 hours a day; most days I spend 12 hours. Everyone will profess to be an expert at education because they have 12 years of limited personal experience.

    NCLB relies on business principles, not developmental or educational priniples. It would be easy for McDonald to set and accomplish the goal of their hamburger patties being 100% beef by 2014. Everyone would claim this is a success. Unlike hamburgers, there are an uncounted number of variables in children. Did the child eat breakfast? Did the child's parents have a bitter argument before school? Does the child have a home? Is there anyone at home to help the child with homework?

    In the fifth grade, Ii have frequently recieved children who are reading anwhere from first grade through eigth grade reading level. Do I get credit for moving a student from a first grade reading level to a third grade reading level in one year? No, I do not.

    I would never claim to know how to perform surgery or land a man on the moon. Before you claim to know how to fix education, perhaps you should learn the specifics of how cognitive development, poverty, administrative beauracracy, and parenting affect education. Teaching is much more complex than most would realize.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Teacher

      Before someone makes the comment...I realize that there are a few gramatical errors in my hastily placed post. No need for anyone to try to be witty and point out some perceived irony.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
      • adb8917

        It's worth noting that Steve Perry is the principal ('headmaster') of a private academy - Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. A visit to the website reveals that they have 42 teachers for pre-K through high school and a total reported staff of 62 people. Total enrollment is not listed. The academy is a 'preparatory' school that appears to focus on minority students, and does have one special education teacher on staff. Without doing a far more detailed search of 'Dr. Perry' two things do rise to the surface: The first is that it looks like he found a way into NCLB's 'magnet school' bank accounts, either with the US DoE or Connecticut state government. The second is that the gentleman markets himself as a motivational speaker and consultant, in addition to being a 'teacher.' He clearly has a capacity for self promotion. Personally, I'm curious about his credentials. Where'd the 'Doctor' come from (i.e., Ph.D., Ed. Psyc., etc.) or is it a self-adopted honorific?

        December 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
      • adb8917

        Sorry... Neglected to mention that three of the 62 are also special police...

        December 8, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Dave

      I can't wait for a dead beat parent to reply to your post. YOU the teacher are there to teach our children math, english, history, etc....Parents are here to make sure their children are capable to go to you and learn this. If I was an immigrant I would MAKE my child learn english. If my children had problems in school it would not be the teacher's problem but my own. The sooner dead beat parents who think teachers should do all the work realize this, the better our education platform would be. Leave out the politics and funding and laws of funding and everything else. Let's get to the bottom line of the problem. DEAD BEAT PARENTS. You know who you are......

      December 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
      • AllHailTeachers

        Dave, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Instead of trying to solve the real problem of education in this country, ie why many in our society simply do not value education, NCLB panders to number mongering. Maybe if parents decided to be parents, not friends, not room mates, then maybe kids would do better. How about a No Parent Leaving Child behind policy? There are at least a dozen reasons why a child doesn't perform well on a test. Most of which have to do with home life and values, not school. We as a country need to stop playing the blame game and start trying to figure out how to make our kids (rich and poor) want to become educated.

        December 9, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • So True

      As a public school teacher I can only speak for what is true of public school education. Our students come to us hungry, tired, emotionally distraught, homeless, products of family problems, wealthy, emotionally stable, spoiled, learning disabled, with emotional deficits, cognitive deficits, hyperactive and some or all could be in a single class. We take everyone, turn no one away because they don't make the grade. Unlike charter schools, private schools and parochial schools we serve all children and not eliminate those that don't meet a preset list of standards. Unlike business who can refuse an order if it isn't up to standard, public school educators teach all students.

      Businessmen, no matter how successful, have no idea what the day to day world of educating children is or involves. Turning children-living, breathing people, into statistical data is both offensive and outrageous and turning college educated professional educators into assembly-line workers is demeaning. The corporatization of education, the elimination of the human condition from our schools, is by far the worst decision we could make.

      December 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
      • JeSuisRacerX

        Another interesting perspective ... or, your comment provoked new thoughts ...

        December 11, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • 4th grade teacher

      I totally agree with you!!!!

      December 8, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • gggg

      What Mr. Perry fails to point out is that NCLB, in fact, left thousands behind. I reference the Texas scandal where the school districts would essentially expel the poor performers and mark their status as "pursuing GED" or something similar so the would not be listed as dropouts. That's like getting a good grade in a class by having only the best 2 of 10 test grades count toward your final grade (let's see, 2 B's and 8 F's, wouldn't that fail you?) and saying you did well in the class. By teaching to the test you stifle creativity. And in every study everywhere, the US may do poorer in overall scores to many other countries, but in creativity the US crushes them. And it's the creativity that creates innovation which in turn keeps advancement going. Getting a great grade in calculus is great. But it's useless if I can't apply it to new and unusual situations in engineering or physics.

      December 9, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  53. macphile

    "Rarely is the question asked, 'Is our children learning?'" Well, we're asking it now, and the answer is a resounding no. Has been for ages. It's a particular misfortune when middle class professions are disappearing. Good jobs require better and better education while our schools provide worse and worse. I wonder if shipping all the kids off to Finland for a few years is a viable option.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Teacher

      Where is your proof that students are not learning. Mine are! Perhaps we should look at your industry's performance. What field are you in?

      December 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
      • Tex Gritter

        Great answer!

        December 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
      • HeadScratcher

        Where's your proof that they are? I started HS with 1000 in my class. 150 graduated. Some moved, but most dropped out. This was in an LA county school. The teachers for the most part didn't care and instead wanted to provoke racial tensions, going so far as to trying to oust a teacher who dared to question their motives. That was 1990. Today, recent studies have graduation rates for CA schools in the low 40%. This doesn't even meet the demand that MOST graduate... we're now a place where most don't. In the real world, you are expected to perform... but somehow these rules don't apply to academics? Sorry not buying it. You either perform , we find a way to make you perform, or you move on and we find someone who can reach the student.

        December 9, 2011 at 1:53 am |
      • English Teacher

        I become extremely frustrated when people use the phrase "in the real world." Frequently I explain to my students that I am preparing them for life post-high school. Sadly, many teachers, parents, and other people in our society believe that education prepares students for "the real world." My students understand that they are living in reality and that everyone that has been in high school and everyone who will go through high school is living in reality. Yes they will have responsibilities later that could be very similar or different in comparison to what they are learning now, but that does not mean that they do not exist until they graduate.

        December 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  54. mcai

    This is an offensive article. It offends educators and Native Americans. Although teacher bashing is a popular sport now days, that was totally politically incorrect to try to use a genocidal tragedy as a headline grabber. How would we get CNN to "fire" this guy.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  55. capnronman

    How about some kids left behind and push our best and brightest as far as they can go, instead of dragging them down to mediocrity, because we are concentrating our efforts to bring up the bottom. As sad as this is, it is the natural way of things. Survival of the fittest.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • John Taylor

      That is exactly what happens at "magnet schools" They attract the kids whose parents care while others are "left behind" at other schools. When you teach everyone, you have to deal with students who have no role models at home. It shouldn't be hard to succeed at a magnet school. The real work of teaching is when you have to teach everyone else's children.

      December 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
      • JeSuisRacerX

        Magnet schools still use teachers with "Education" degrees.

        December 11, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Val Myers

      I don't know. Is this a bad analogy? I think the gentleman chose the example as metaphor. Is the potential damage to schoolchildren going to be that critical? Perhaps he sees a lessening of accountability standards enforced at federal and state levels as just that.. Are we going to see further widening of the achievement gap? There is no reason to expect that you will not. And this time there will be far greater reticence to rectify some of these inequities.
      "'Cause we've tried that already and it didn't work, it was a big mess, blah blah." All over Fox TV.
      I don't think it's entirely fair to children to allow so much laxity in expectation as far as standards go, letting some systems play the rope out as far as it goes by ignoring standards,teaching outdated curriculums and laying blame with the accuracy of a laser. On socioeconomic factors, on the possible sacrifice of children with unusual abilities and greater possibilities of successful outcomes, on Unions, the tax base, socialism, on genetically engineered grain and global warming outcomes. The list of you name it will go on and on before Jack or Jill's name is ever mentioned. Then pulling in the line and forcing them to play catch up. Cruel game. Seeing a lot of children with good potential lost? It's like when the Soviets were in power in the USSR. As long as the threat of communism was seemingly vital we modeled the best democracy. Ok, if you want to do some modifications fine, but by caving to states it is really possible, not in every state, but in quite a few that there will certainly be a recession of standard. Ability killed off and buried low under the weight of arbitrary local politics, administrative policies that don't have all children's best interests at heart? We're talking down the road long after the Obamas have departed the White House. Yeah it could be tragic.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:05 am |
  56. Leon

    What an incredible jerk, using one of the most tragic moments in Native American history to compare with President Obama's fails. Where hundreds of defenseless Native Americans were murdered by the 7th Calvary compare with No Child Left Behind. You are not an Educational Contributor but an a**hole.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  57. JoeT

    My opinion re NCLB: A, C, D, C, B, A, B, D, D, A, C
    How'd I do?

    December 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  58. nwwphd

    As progressive as Dr. Perry is, and as personally committed to do something about the educational mess this country is in, he like so many others, believes the Federal Government can solve the problems. It can't. Citizens can. I have proposed a series of steps to be taken to change the dumbing of America in my DUH! The American Educational Disaster.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  59. richard

    To the Author: you have failed miserably to make your argument simply because you provide NO CONTEXT for your reference to the 'Battle at Wounded Knee'. In light of this omission, i find it difficult to see/hear your perspective.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Gary

      In fact, the "battle" at Wounded Knee was a massacre of innocent men, women, and children. This was one of most shameful episodes in the history of the United States, and one of the most painful memories (to this day) of the Lakota people. The author is either ignorant of this important piece of history or fails to understand its legacy. Either way, a very poor choice and one that discredits the writer.

      December 10, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  60. David Bailey

    I I challenge Dr. Perry to take a Cognitively Disabled student with an IQ of 68 and teach them to be proficient in Algebra.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Derangedcowbrain

      Exactly. What the waivers do is allow schools systems the levity they need to get back to teaching and learning, and NOT focus on the biased results that standardized testing attempts to measure.

      Teaching the test has failed–we've done it for years, and it's not working (and a great big "toldyaso" is in order). It's time to do something else. Let the educators decide how to do this, not the politicians.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
      • Teacher

        Where is the "like" button.

        December 8, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Art

      You know what? Before NCLB, the vast majority of my most successful students came from stable homes with traditional, middle class values. This has not changed one bit since the implementation of relentless standardized testing.

      School can't fix broken families. Neither can these tests.

      I'll tell you what has changed, though. My students are less happy and less engaged than they used to be. They just don't get very jazzed about educational boot camp, I suppose.

      But hey, as long as a few not-very-useful scores go up, it's okay that education has moved to Paris Island model.


      December 9, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • SpecialEducationTeacher

      AMEN! I give him a day in my classroom. I teach six l students who all have significant behavioral disorders (self-injurious behavior, aggression, etc.), as well as developmental delays. Dr. Perry wouldn't make it through the first hour of my day. My students are all capable of learning. However, passing standardized tests is not a priority for them. Instead, their education is based upon what is best for each individual learner, something education has lost during the past 20 years.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  61. jack

    It's times like these we mustn't forget that Obama is half white. No doubt he needed to throw his white half a bone. But I, too, am surprised the bone he'd give it to gnaw on would be black.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • FlyGuyInSJ

      Racist much, Jack?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Tex Gritter

      I like your thinkin', Jack. Hit the nail right on the head.

      December 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  62. Willyd

    NCLB is a failed policy. Children are learning even less because teachers are being pressured to pass students no matter what. They find ways to cheat the system. The program had good intentions but that doesn't make up for its poor execution.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • jack

      Teachers can "pass" students all they want, but they don't get to grade the standardized tests, and if the student fails the test, the school fails, so "passing" students doesn't help the teacher or the school.

      The realities are this: 1) the NCLB act was designed by Ted Kennedy. 2) students have show significant improvement nation-wide – especially minority students. 3) More money is being spent on minority education than ever before. 4) NCLB is unpopular with teachers and their unions because it makes bad teachers look bad, and teachers absolutely do not like to be held accountable, and 5) this accounts for all the bad press.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
      • Jeff

        The problem with NCLB is that teachers and administrators are no longer educating, but the cirrculum is built around passing the test, not educating and testing the kids knowledge base to see if they've learned enough.

        It is systematic training of how test best. Reward a test animal with a treat when it does right, and they will "pass the test" every time. It doesn't give a good measure of that animal's intelligence. NCLB is becoming just that.

        All in order to ensure that schools and districts don't lose their funding. Let's get back to educating our students.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  63. Steve

    Why are you using the site of one of the most tragic crimes in American history in a frivolous way? The massacre at Wounded Knee is definitely not a subject that should ever be disrespected. What should happen is that an American President should go the site of the massacre, and get down on his knee, and apologize for what happened there. The photos of the frozen bodies of the murdered Indians stacked in wagons and being thrown into mass graves, was a sight that was not repeated again until the Nazi camps of WWII. This person who wrote this article obviously has a very ignorant knowledge of history.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Willyd

      'Nuff Said!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • RabiaDiluvio

      While I agree 100% that Wounded Knee was horrific and should not be repeated again anywhere, I do not agree that anyone living today should offer up some half-baked "apology" for a disgusting act that was perpetrated by people long dead. What should happen is not apology, but an HONEST MEMORIAL to what happened so that we can see the truth of it and know the potential that lives in all of us to do evil as well as good. To stare it in the face makes it present and will help to make sure it doesn't happen again.

      December 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
      • adb8917

        I recommend a visit to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. There is a cemetery there that stands witness to those events and the other, starker tragedies of Indian life then and today. It remains a place of poverty, but the Lakota peoples who still live there show great pride in their history and heritage.

        December 9, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  64. WWRRD

    NCLB unfairly singles out teachers as the sole reason for kids failing education. Society teaches our kids that being cool is better. Have the right tennis shoes, the right cell phone, be a basketball star, or a gang banger. Being great at math and science just isn't cool. Where are parents. The kids being left behind have parents that don't support their kids and teach them that education is their ticket to a better life.

    Someone explain to me that when a suburban community with high performing schools starts to become more urban and the demographic shifts to one of more minorities and less money, the test scores plummet. Same schools, same teachers etc etc etc. Did those high quality teachers just get bad? No, its the parents.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Roger

      Thanks for the sanity. My wife teaches under NCLB. When her school became an opt-out school and the demographic changed, suddenly she was not as good a teacher. Her methods or effort did not change. Teachers are an easy scape goat while school administrators that will not discipline students, parents that won't support teachers, and students that do not give effort get a free pass. A poor student does not suddenly become a better student by getting on a bus and being in a different building. That solution is an easy political one, but not much else.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Steve Miller

      Its not just the parents. If you read IQ and the Wealth of Nations, and The Global Bell Curve you will see that the genes for IQ are not spread evenly throughout humanity. Mexican students in the US score better than ones in mexico and african students in the US have an even bigger gap from african students in african nations. Oprah was smart in her school in africa no native boys allowed and only a few girls with enought money thrown at them to teach thousands.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • FlyGuyInSJ

      Everything you said, plus the fact that there is quite a bit of teaching to the test. My kids are in Catholic school this year after we moved last year and went from a school with an API of over 900 to a school in the mid-800s and were quite disappointed in it and many things. Besides the better curriculum and environment and better teachers, there's no STAR testing and thus, no time wasted teaching to the test.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  65. Cosmicc

    Standardized testing has its places and its problems. The biggest problem I see is that those states where education is highly valued set the bar higher with more rigorous tests. As a result you cannot compare results across state lines. A district in one state may just perform in the middle of the pack, but may in fact outperform the top schools in another state. Now the people in the state with higher standards will complain about the cost of education compared to the other state, but cannot use the standardized tests to see the real difference in performance.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  66. EdProf

    Why would Obama support a failed Bush agenda? NCLB seeks blame (mostly on the teacher), offers no solutions, provideds loopholes for private endeavors into public education (like Perry's school), and essentially serves to erode high quality public education. Testing has it's place, without doubt, but it is far from the best measure of effective education.

    As for the reference to Wounded Knee – completely disrespectful and...dare I say it?....kind of stupid.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  67. John

    "Under Bush, NCLB money went to schools with at least 40% of the children living in poverty or schools in need of improvement. Obama’s flexibility measures will allow states to request these scarce funds for any school they wish."

    Just another example of those darned big-government liberal Democrats trying to take away local control from the school districts, versus the conservative Republicans fighting hard to reduce the size and control of Big Government ... oh wait a minute, I think I may have misread the article! LOL

    December 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  68. CanisPitbull

    And he sucked as lead singer of Journey.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Michael

      LIES, SIR! Journey forever!!!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  69. MastersEd

    In education circles you frequently hear NCLB referred to as "No Child Gets Ahead" since it teaches to the lowest common denominator. It's a terrible policy that requires states to spend money that they don't have on tests that don't prove anything in order to keep receiving funding that they've had in the past. In other words, schools receive less money under NCLB due to their having to pay to administer these tests. There are many things that education needs to improve; high stakes testing is not one of them.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  70. Bill

    Mr Perry, you may not want to go anywhere near Pine Ridge anytime soon.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • KulHndLuk

      Bill, in case you haven't been following the conversation... it's Dr. Perry to you!

      December 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
      • Roberta

        I think Perry should be required to teach at Pine Ridge for a year or two.

        December 9, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  71. Honest131

    Repeal NCLB. In all forms. In an effort to get everyone across the finish line, no one is getting across the finish line. NCLB Testing is the average 2nd highest cost for a school after teachers pay. Before NCLB did some not get a good education? Yes. But this country put people on the moon. We cured dangerous diseases. We developed new technologies. We had the strongest economy in the world. We could out work, out think, out fight, and out build any other nation on the planet. And with what? A backward education system and people who thought high school was enough. Realize there will be breakage. Some people just wont make it. And thats too bad. But this process is only making our kids less competetive and less capable. Get rid of it. Now.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Cosmicc

      Yes, let's go right back to the 1950's.

      December 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
      • Honest131

        I didn't say the 50's. I didnt advocate segregation or the abolishment of evolution. I'm not in favor of us decreasing the quality of the education. NCLB does exactly that by placing an undue burden on the schools to get the students to perform against a test. Hence, something the 50's never saw "test taking strategy class". If the system now isn't producing as well as the system before, go back. If you want to try something different, ok. But I think there was an old guy, most kids can't identify – Einstein. He said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  72. Karen Neff

    Is this guy for real!?! Testing doesn't prove anything. And I have news for him: We don't just shut down learning for a month prior to the test to prep for it. We actually teach test prep from day one. That's the only thing going on until AFTER the test when we can "relax" and really teach! The man's a moron and should be treated as such.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Honest131

      Thank you Karen!

      December 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Art

      True. So true.

      December 9, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  73. steven harnack

    Why do I get the impression that this guy somehow wants some Federal money based on his school's test scores? Teaching for tests is not education, it's assembly line. And I also find the reference to Wounded Knee offensive. Why didn't he go straight to Holocaust?

    December 8, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • bigdil

      I think you might be on to something here.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  74. Anom

    You want to fix education? 1. Get rid of standardized testing. 2. Fail students that don't merrit a passing grade. 3. Take the power out of the hands of the parents and put it in the hands of the teachers. 4. Fire all the principles that don't have the back bone to deal with parents. Right now, Child gripes to parent that they can't learn because of their teacher when the child is goofing off. Parent complains to principle. Principle complains to teacher and threatens them to pass the child or lose their job. Child is passed to next level and is set up for more failure. Child gets to college and flunks out in first semester because they have learned nothing and have no work ethic. Parents are left wondering why?

    December 8, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Karen Neff


      December 8, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  75. svann

    I think this guy is fishing for a skyrim joke.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  76. donna

    Mr. Perry, what does your article have to do with the massacre at Wounded Knee.? You show your disrespect for the IIndian people.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Honest131

      Native Americans.... please.

      December 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
      • Tex Gritter

        No disrespect to yourself, but I asked an elderly Cherokee man once, Which did he prefer: 'Native American' or 'Indian'? He told me he would rather be called Cherokee, but 'Indian' would be be alright.

        December 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  77. professorfarnsworth

    Mr. Perry, what happened at Wounded Knee was not a battle. It was a massacre.

    You can make a point about the plight of American education without politicizing the murders of American Indians at the hands of the US government. They are not the same thing, and you know it.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Karen Neff

      Pity the man. He's a product of the Bush education system. He never had to learn history because it wasn't on the test.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • Amen

        You got that right!

        December 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
      • adb8917

        Hey, 'Professor' Perry! In your next diatribe can you maybe fit in a throwaway line about Sand Creek, the Trail of Tears, and Lord Jeffrey Amherst's gift of smallpox contaminated blankets to the Delaware Indians?

        December 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  78. a sampson

    Wounded Knee was not a battle it was a massacre. I find it to be extremely offensive to use it in such an insenitive manner. Try Educations 9/11 or Educations Holocaust and perhaps even as an educator you may learn something.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  79. Kevin

    No Child Left Behind was Ill Conceived and poorly executed. I suppose the you could argue that the goal was noble if you turned as blind an eye to the implementation as the Bush Administration turned to reality. NOT ALL CHILDREN HAVE THE MENTAL CAPACITY TO BE A ROCKET SCIENTIST. Schools can't control their raw materials (Students) and so they can't entirely control the educational outcome.

    Does this mean we should let teachers off the hook? NO it Doesn't but using Student test scores to measure teacher performance and having a goal of ALL Children performing with proficiency is the height of idiocy. We need good standards for measuring a teacher and then we need to hold those teachers to the standards.

    The current system forces schools to turn all of their limited resources over to a futile attempt to make the unmotivated and the stupid proficient.

    I think schools should be held accountable to making equal opportunities avaialable to all students but not equal outcomes; other wise the simple solution is to dumb down the bright kids to make it easier for the slow.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • bigdil

      Bingo Kevin! The author either doesn't understand NCLB at all or, more likely, he's got an agenda. No one can really claim to have believed that 100% proficiency was ever an achievable goal. We have finally reached the inevitable dead-end where NCLB was always headed. Waivers had to be granted or the penalty provisions would start tearing apart perfectly good schools and districts for failure to meet an unreachable goal. That's not Obama's fault. It's the fault of everyone who ever pretended that NCLB was a solution to anything...and there are plenty of you out there.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  80. Dan

    I teach in a low-income community where poor, single parents are overwhelmed by their demands. Eighth grade students walk into my class reading at third grade level and stay home to watch sick siblings so that mom can work and rent can be paid. This is my fault? Really? Each state sets its own standards and I teach in California where high standards were set. I guess I would be a better teacher if I was in Texas where their eighth graders are working on standards that are taught to third and fourth grade students in California. Actually, I would be a better teacher if I transferred to another school east of mine. Really? Are there people out there dumb enough to fail to connect home to school? Don't vote, please.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Cosmicc

      Failure to address the socio-economic factors in educational success will prevent our educational system from succeeding. Call it socialism if you must, but our society is based on the concept of equal opportunity and access. If we don't find a way to provide extra support for children with parents who won't or can't help then an ever growing percentage of children will be left behind as the educational entry requirements for the job market increase.

      December 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  81. Big Dave 2001

    Steve Perry is a fraud. He cherry picks his students, Students' test scores have declined over the five years under Perry's leadership. In 2007, they had 42 students and in 2011 they had 45. Test scores over that time period declined in all four state wide tests (CAPT), including math, writing, reading, and science.
    What really stuns me is that CNN continues to give this guy airtime. He is a principal of a very small high school. His test scores have declined, and he has not shown in any way that any of his ideas are transferable to broader issues of education in this country. Surely CNN can find somebody that is more informed and thoughtful. The issues facing education are srious and complex, and require much more thought than his typical simplistic blather.

    December 8, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • momof2

      Steve Perry was the frontman for the 1980's rock group Journey. Are you referring to Rick Perry?

      December 8, 2011 at 11:33 am |
      • red1087

        No, I think he meant Steve Perry, as in the writer of the article, as noted in the byline....

        December 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  82. Ken from FL

    The anguish of the liberal: should I love Obama or hate him?

    December 8, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  83. edstudent

    You expect a school system, embedded in the ideals of the Industrial Revolution, practiced for a century or more, to be magically fixed overnight? Within a year? Within two years? Someone buy me a plane ticket, I would love to travel to this fantasy land.

    The fact of the matter is that to adequately reform the educational system into something that meets the needs of present and future learners, two things are needed : (1)A plan and (2)Time. It will not be a quick fix. It will take hard work, constant tweaking to the educational system. A re-identification of the role of the student, the teacher, and the administrator. These changes do not come easily to any system, much less one as mired in "tradition" as the educational system.

    By all means, go ahead and try and change your school tomorrow. When that strategy doesn't work, try a different strategy. And another, and another, until your students are utterly confused not only about what they are learning, but how they should be learning it. Leave that generation behind educationally, I'm sure it will work out for them somehow.

    Or, the process of truly revamping the educational system can begin. I'd suggest doing your research on educational systemic change, or perhaps even systemic change in general before you make such ridiculous claims.

    December 8, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Butchie67

      edstudent – 1) The plan IS NCLB. 2) It has been in operation for 10 years plus. Even for slowcoaches that is a lot of time. So, you had a plan that wasn’t perfect by any means but let’s face it, it was produced by the most inept gaggle of misfits that anyone can imagine (Congress: The Dream Team of morons if you will). Knowing this fact we all should have expected, no, demanded that NCLB be tweaked. General Dwight D. Eisenhower said “Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” Read the law, make your plans to meet the intent and quiet bellyaching and get’r done.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  84. my knee

    Was this wound in the knee caused by an arrow, perchance? Such wounds may preclude individuals from adventuring and such escapades.

    December 8, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  85. ????

    This stupid article has nothing to do with Wounded Knee or the American Indians.

    December 8, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Butchie67

      Hey, ??? Good catch! We can see you didn't need any NCLB to be right on top of things.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  86. Joe Boyum

    As an economist and positive social theorist I recommend we look at reality objectively. Place blame squarely on those who are failing. Do we have rational expectations of teachers, students, and the environment that children have in school and at home?

    If there are failures year after year regardless of the methodology, plan, budget, or participants...there is no rational objective being sought.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Ralph Gentry

      Consider the cost of all this testing, record keeping, teacher retraining(?) and compare that to the amount of cash the Feds are passing down to the schools. Perhaps it's time to say goodby to the Feds and proceed to teach what our kids need to succeed.

      The so called traditional education was good at Reading/Writing/Arithmatic and critical thinking.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Cosmicc

      @joe, In almost all successful cases our educational system is dependent upon family support. So now that we have fixed the blame, what do we do? Require licensing tests before allowing someone to become a parent, spend public money on programs that will support education outside of the schools, or continue to allow children to fail?
      @ralph, What children need to succeed today is not what they needed 30 or 40 years ago. 80% of new jobs will require a post-secondary education, but college attendance rates in the US is below 40%. You cannot be prepared for college with just the "3-r's".

      December 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  87. BigguyinTx

    O is just another cynical Dem pol who bent his knee to a powerful union. Teachers have always had the most power, and therefore the most blame, in our failed public schools. It's getting them to take responsibility where the problems begin, but hey, that's the liberal thing (not accepting responsibility), not holding anyone accountable...

    December 8, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Ryan

      Why am I surprised? Someone had to go after teachers in response to an education article. I'm not sure you're allowed to comment on whether teachers are failing or have some kind of "power", as the smart money says you're probably not a teacher or have any knowledge of education, but are rather, like legions of conservatives, an armchair expert in everything from pedagogy to stem cells. I'm also not sure that you've set foot in a public school within, say, 5 years.

      That being said, I live in a town with a highly successful public school, one that routinely beats out charter schools for state accolades. You making a blanket statement about all public schools "failing" is like me making a blanket statement about all Texans being oil barons.

      December 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Cosmicc

      or uneducated rednecks.

      December 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  88. oldPhysProf

    Well said

    December 8, 2011 at 9:48 am |