Duncan: 82% of public schools are ‘failing’ by No Child Left Behind metrics
U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan told Congress Wednesday that his agency estimates that 82 percent of America’s public schools will be given a “failing status,” if they do not meet education goals set by No Child Left Behind (PDF) this year.
“[No Child Left Behind] has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed,” Duncan said, in recorded testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible, and focused on the schools and students most at risk.”
The Washington Post notes that last year, only 37 percent of schools did not meet NCLB targets.
From the Post:
The projection also points to a high-stakes battle over how to define school failure and success as Congress seeks to rewrite a law that is showing its age.
The estimate drew immediate criticism from an expert who is usually an Obama ally – Charles Barone, a former congressional aide who helped draft the 2002 law and tracks federal policy for the pro-administration group Democrats for Education Reform. Barone called Duncan’s projection “fiction.”
“He’s creating a bogeyman that doesn’t exist,” Barone said. “Our fear is that they are taking it to a new level of actually manufacturing a new statistic – a ‘Chicken Little’ statistic that is not true – just to get a law passed. It severely threatens their credibility.”