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Two Million Children Left Behind

Government WastePoliticsThe No Child Left Behind Act inserted the giant hand of federal government into the tiny little glove of local control of education. Well surprise, surprise, now the glove is broken.

Under the law championed by President Bush, all students must achieve proficiency in reading and math by 2014. No students’ stores can be excluded from a school’s overall score, but schools also report by categories such as race, poverty, migrant status, English proficiency and special education. If students in one category fail, the entire school is deemed to be failing.

When racial groups are too small to be statistically significant, or when student privacy might be at risk, schools don’t have to report those group scores to the federal government. That means they’re not judged for the performance of those groups.

Nationally, an analysis by The Associated Press found 1.9 million students — or about 1 in every 14 test scores — aren’t counted under the law’s racial categories. Minorities were seven times as likely to have their scores excluded as whites, the analysis showed.

Just in case you missed the significance of that, let me repeat the salient point.

1 in every 14 test scores — aren’t counted under the law’s racial categories.

That’s almost 7 percent of the students in the US. We’re not leaving “A” child behind. We’re leaving giant fuqing batches of them behind. Slip the kids into a nice little racial bucket, move them off the books, and keep getting your federal dollars. My bet is there are consultants somewhere getting paid a lot of money by school districts to teach them how to game the system.

This is simply outrageous, but sadly, not surprising. This is the logical outcome of the belief that the federal government, through direct control or financial pressure, can fix anything.

Written by Michael Turk