February 17, 2004
Smaller schools in the USA being left behind?

I have a piece on an educational theme over at Samizdata, in connection with this New York Times story. It's about a somewhat tactless libertarian economist, who may nevertheless have done something to improve education in his home town.

As usual at Samizdata, the comments are now piling in, several of them saying that the economist, whom I defended, is a pillock, for trashing his own neighbours in a magazine, no matter how obscure.

But this comment particularly intrigued me, about the – presumably unintended – consequences of the "No Child Left Behind" program that President Bush has introduced.

An American View

Given the "no child left behind" with its requirements for validation (= testing) teachers seem to have little control over curriculum and "teaching" is geared towards passing the next test with little concern for "education." All the paperwork that's related seems to be especially difficult to keep up with in the smaller schools in states like Montana, Wyoming, etc. leaving the schools in danger of loosing monetary support from Big Brother, effectively killing them.

There seems to be some scattered trend towards the local citizenry giving up and supporting education themselves but it doesn't appear to be very widespread. The U.S. Dept. of Education seems to have suggested recently that some of these problems can be "worked out." One can only wonder what that means.

Any further comments on that? I leave it to you to decide whether to put them in the peace and quiet of here, or the monkey-fight that Samizdata comment threads often become.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:56 PM
Category: Politics