The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

No Child Left Behind is blowing up the school system

Oct 20, 2008

Forty% of all schools are falling short of No Child Left Behind testing targets this year.

No Child Left Behind was sold as a way to improve the public schools. But in fact, it was always a scam. It was always a way to justify cutting off funds for public schools.

Study after study has shown that the formula to improve schools is very simple: lower class size and increase the amount of attention teachers can give to each student. The success of the Head Start program has shown this. In other words, give schools more money. Give them more money for more teachers, for books and supplies they don’t have, and to fix buildings that are increasingly falling apart.

No Child Left Behind does the exact opposite. It not only gives no money to schools to help improve their situation; it also does not even give any money for schools to administer the tests the law demands – so schools have to take from their already overworked budgets to pay for those tests. It ends up taking resources away from instruction, from schools that need them most – schools in working class and impoverished districts – and then punishes those schools with further cuts, if students don’t meet certain goals for test scores.

When schools do not meet a yearly improvement goal, they are punished with everything from cuts in aid money to reorganization and even closings.

The results are not surprising: instead of more schools improving each year, more and more schools fail to meet the law’s requirements every year.

This disgusting law was put together by the Bush administration – working closely with Senator Edward Kennedy, supposedly one of the most “liberal” members of Congress. It passed overwhelmingly, with broad support from Republicans AND Democrats. This year, both John McCain and Barack Obama say they support the law.

Now, as almost half of all schools in the country are “failing”, the goals of “No Child Left Behind” are clear: to leave workers’ children behind and deprive them of an education.