Parents Demand Dumbed-down Tests --- An Unintended Bad Consequence of the "No Child Left Behind Act"Written by Joel Turtel
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is making problem of cheating, low academic standards, and public schools lying to parents, even worse. Under this Act, Department of Education now requires students to pass standardized tests. Failing schools will lose federal funding and other perks if their students consistently turn in a bad performance on these tests.
Holding schools and teachers accountable, and expecting students to demonstrate what they’ve learned, sounds like a good idea. But this Act means that badly-taught students, victims of dumbed-down texts and bad teaching methods like new math and whole-language instruction, now have to pass difficult standardized tests they are not ready for.
As a result, millions of students may fail these tests, not because they are dumb, but because schools never taught them to read properly or solve a math problem without a calculator. Millions of high school students with low reading and math skills now risk not graduating from high school until they pass these tests.
It is important that parents know unvarnished truth about their children’s real academic abilities, but many parents are now frantic because they see their children’s failing grades on these new tests. As a result, they complain to school boards that they do not want their children taking these tests or not graduating from high school because of low test scores. To protect their children, many parents are now demanding dumbed-down tests to make sure that their kids graduate from high school and go to college.
The No Child Left Behind Act is now forcing many parents to condone schools that dumb-down their tests and standards, instead of blaming these schools for their children’s failure to learn. This is a typical unintended consequence of more government laws that try to fix problems that a government-controlled school system created in first place.
State lawmakers in New York, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and other states have yielded to parent pressure. They have scrapped or watered-down high-stakes graduation tests that proved too tough even for students in so-called better schools in suburbs.
Invented Spelling --- Another Alice-in-Wonderland Public-School TheoryWritten by Joel Turtel
As part of whole-language (or "balanced") reading-instruction philosophy, many public schools now teach what they call “invented” or “creative” spelling. Under this theory of spelling, teachers believe that forcing a child to spell a word correctly thwarts child's "creativity." So in classrooms across America, many public-school teachers now encourage children to spell words any way they like.
Also, many school officials now believe it is not important to teach correct spelling because, so theory goes, a child will “eventually” learn to spell correctly. Unfortunately, millions of children who start out as poor spellers, stay that way. How, in our Alice-in-Wonderland public-school classrooms, will a child learn to spell correctly if public schools think that correct spelling is meaningless?
Charles J. Sykes, author of "Dumbing Down Our Kids," provides following real-life examples of invented spelling in our public schools:
“Joan W. and Beverly J. [last names omitted for privacy] are not experts. They just didn’t understand why their children weren’t learning to write, spell, or read very well. They didn’t understand why their children kept coming home with sloppy papers filled with spelling mistakes and bad grammar and why teachers never corrected them or demanded better work. Mrs. W. couldn’t fathom why her child’s teacher would write a “Wow!” and award a check-plus (for above average work) to a paper that read:
“I’m goin to has majik skates. Im goin to go to disenalen. Im goin to bin my mom and dad and brusr and sisd. We r go to se mickey mouse.”
"On another assignment where children were told to write about why, where, and how they would run away from home without their parents knowing about it, here’s what one child wrote: “I would run awar because by mom and Dad don’t love me. I would run away with my brother to musan in mlewsky. We will use are packpacks and put all are close in it. We will take a lot of mony with us so we can go on bus to musam. We will stay there for a tlong timne so my mom and dad know they did not love us.”