Sunday, October 21, 2007

No Child Left Behind -- a Catholic view

Our Sunday Visitor recently released a "report card" of Bush's presidency from a Catholic perspective, and I was very disappointed to see the No Child Left Behind Act get a positive mention. Here is the letter I just sent in response

I was very disappointed to see the No Child Left Behind Act given a "positive" rating in your October 21st analysis of Bush's presidency. I strongly disagree, the Act actually contributes to a very anti-Catholic objectification of both pupils and teachers. The increased emphasis on standardized testing has made schools in one business and one business only -- the raising of test scores. Aside from the practical flaw that a student can be trained to score high on a test with little to no understanding or actual ability, the greater evil in this is that the student is no longer viewed as a whole person but as a score. It doesn't matter that the child learn to think, learn to enjoy life, or learn to behave in a moral way, all that matters is that the child scores "proficient" on the test. This simply does not respect the fact that the child is a human person with a body, mind and soul which all need to be considered together in order for a true education to be achieved. The teacher, despite his or her best efforts, is reduced to a factory manager who must raise "productivity" through raising scores, no matter the effect on the actual persons in her care. Should Catholics approve of this?

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