Re-Examining the Federal Leviathan: No Child Left Behind as Pure Political Profit, and why it is Harming Public Education, Part II

The politicization of public school reform at the national level has resulted in schooling being viewed as a monolithically flawed enterprise pivoting on the verge of collapse, a vast crisis in need of momentous reform.  Again, serious problems do exist, but what is often lost in the national rhetoric is that our education problems vary immensely in their local complexity.  In other words, the perception often shaped by our national discourse over public education oversimplifies the complexity of problems that should more often be approached by teachers and school officials who have developed a better understanding of the unique needs of their students, their communities, and their schools.  While schools face similar problems, what is equally true is that problems related to academic achievement can be best addressed in ways that are exclusively and more appropriately handled within local contexts for purposes of addressing the educational needs of individual students.  Addressing problems experienced in schools is much different from addressing unemployment or inflation.

A response that focuses solely on standardized testing can not only be emasculating to students and teachers, but it also thwarts our ability to better understand that which is most uniquely human: the complexity of cognition, imagination, emotion, creativity, and student understanding.  These phenomena are best understood through the constantly developing social interactions among teachers and students.

Calvin and HobbsBill Watterson

Calvin and Hobbs
Bill Watterson

An important federal role in education is easily justified when that role is focused on issues of funding, equity, and the protection of constitutional rights and liberties.  These issues clearly affect learning, but they are nonetheless external from or only indirectly related to student cognition and learning.  Understanding these specific policymaking roles has been lost in the morass of federal, state, and local policies and regulations that all too often serve as a patchwork of incremental reforms addressing parochial problems superficially and uniformly with little or no effect, or in some cases, making problems worse.  Much of what contributes to educational problems in my opinion is a result of our repeated failure to ask the right questions, often resulting in an array of irresponsible and ineffective reforms.  Why would we think that we can improve student learning by relying extensively on standardized tests that tell us little more than the factual information students have memorized or how well they have learned test-taking strategies?  Uniform curricula produced generically without knowledge of the cultural, socio-economic, and intellectual variety present in most classrooms will not contribute to substantive learning.  Those who are responsible for these reforms assume that all children learn uniformly without regard to their socio-cultural complexity.  Policymakers fail to recognize or choose to ignore that learning is multifaceted and often difficult to discern.  Richard Rothstein’s research confirms this by asserting that, rather than comparing the test scores of black and white students to determine an achievement gap, for example, it is more accurate to use “criterion-referenced terms” by focusing on the level of “proficiency” experienced within each group.  In his thorough analysis, Rothstein explicates the conclusions made in the Colman report; namely, “the economic, educational, and cultural characteristics of families have powerful effects on learning, effects that even great schools cannot obliterate, on average.”  Comparative analyses used to evaluate assessments are often fraught with problems since they are often unable to account for the multiple and complex ways that learning occurs.[i]

But beyond comparative analysis of achievement gaps and criterion-referenced assessments, Rothstein’s more fundamental point is related to how social, cultural, and class differences among children more acutely influence their academic achievement or lack thereof.  These issues go beyond the comparison of groups and should include a focus on understanding individual students who are distinctly situated.  Rothstein’s analysis includes what most of us would consider as rather simple assumptions related to underachievement, but nonetheless tend to be ignored in our national discourse about schooling.  He reminds us that it is important to understand the difficulties children may have as a result of vision and hearing problems that often go undetected in children from poorer backgrounds, as well as a lack of dental care, higher exposure to lead paint, higher instances of asthma, lack of pediatric care and sufficient nutrition, as well as the effects of experiencing frequent transiency, and the multiple ways in which children’s homes function (or fail to function) and respond to educational development.[ii]  How are standardized assessments and retaliatory consequences for “failure” on a standardized test going to address these structural, cultural, and family variations?  Having witnessed the damaging effects of No Child Left Behind over the past eight years, Diane Ravitch, a long-time supporter of the kinds of reforms that led to the law’s passage and implementation, now identifies NCLB as “a system of institutionalized fraud.”  And the situation is only becoming worse under President Obama’s administration since he is contributing to rather than withdrawing from NCLB.  The purposes behind “Race-to-the-Top” only exacerbate existing problems that are “antithetical to the fundamental idea of American education,” according to Ravitch.[iii]

The most problematic nature of NCLB is its supporters’ assumption that uniformity, standardization, centralization, and punitive measures can compel learning and decrease achievement gaps.  Conjecture by federal policymakers that all children learn uniformly in all respects reveals a lack of understanding of the complexity of the learning process and the various demographic differences among children in a diverse society, including cultural, language, and ability differences.  To conclude that all children learn alike and are best served by uniform tests is faulty and outright perilous.  Reflecting on these emerging trends in 1995, Linda Darling-Hammond declared that our understanding of American schooling “requires a paradigm shift.”  She reasoned that the time had come for us to consider restructuring our public schools

from hierarchical, factory model institutions where teachers, treated as semi-skilled assembly line workers, process students for their slots in society, to professional communities where student success is supported by the collaborative efforts of knowledgeable teachers who are organized to address the needs of diverse learners. Today’s schools were designed when the goal of education was not to educate all students well but to process a great many efficiently…[iv]

No Child Left Behind has exasperated the social efficiency model described by Darling-Hammond.

Despite the advice to decentralize control over schooling and to engender more personable schools and learning experiences for students, Congress adopted a cursory approach in 2002 by institutionalizing new federal mandates for standardized assessments, curricula, and abrasive accountability measures.  One of the consequences of NCLB appear to signify a novel approach intended to assimilate an increasingly diverse society into adopting a marketization paradigm for education –a renewed interest in and a new approach to strengthening an already powerful and deeply-rooted cultural ethos.  Policies like NCLB have relegated virtually every educational problem to a concern for national economic competitiveness.  Interpreting problems in this manner often result in narrowly tailored and ineffective remedies because they create an undercurrent of reform driven by a single stream that eschews the multiple tributaries that otherwise become desiccated.

Demanding Uniformity in an Individualistic and Pluralistic Culture: Testing as an End in Itself Diminishes Democratic Forms of Education

Despite the fact that public education was never intended to be democratic, the term democracy is frequently used by educational scholars today, particularly within social foundations programs.  What is often meant by democratic education is analogous to developing existential forms of active and engaging education, including educational experiences that contribute to one’s intellectual growth and democratic well-being; actualizing students’ potential by empowering them from within.  What I have in mind is very similar to what Amy Gutmann refers to as “cultivating democratic virtues” in students and developing intrinsic appetites to function democratically outside the classroom and beyond graduation.   In a multicultural society, we have increasingly adopted the idea in academia that, in order for us to reach our democratic ideals outside schools we must develop democratic virtues and democratically fulfilling experiences for students in our schools with the hope that they can accentuate constructive forms of democratic citizenship as adults.  In addition, if democracy is a goal of education, we must respect diversity by acknowledging that equity can only be realized contextually rather than demanding uniformity.  This relatively modern understanding of education illustrates a schism between many academicians and policy makers over the incompatible purposes and often conflicting expectations they have for our schools.

Undoubtedly, from the moment common schools materialized in the nineteenth century we have habitually viewed schools as social institutions responsible for tempering our individualistic culture and its diverse inhabitants.  Rather than celebrating our ethnically rich diversity and the equally valuable contributions that have resulted from this diversity, we have routinely utilized our schools to cultivate a narrowly defined standard image of what it meant or means to be an American.  This tendency toward uniformity is not only undemocratic, but it is also “untenable from any moral and political perspective that would treat individuals as civic equals,” as Amy Gutmann asserts in her criticism of traditional curricula that failed to recognize the contributions of individuals who were not part of the dominant group.[v]  The tendency to construct a standard conception of citizenship from an otherwise diverse society began nearly two centuries ago when the Whigs, described by Daniel Howe as “redeemers of society,” [vi] viewed it as their moral obligation to establish common schools, effectively responding to the democratizing forces under way during the Jacksonian period.  Assimilation has since been the goal of common schooling and the metaphorical melting pot was the anticipated consequence.  Beyond the movement toward nationalization of education little has changed as we continue to pursue new assimilatory reforms imposed by distant policymakers who view students as an amalgamated mass ready to be processed.

Just days after President Bush signed NCLB into law an aide to Senator Patty Murray of Washington explained the Senator’s apprehension over the law’s excessive testing requirements: “You’re really focusing on something other than teaching and learning, and [testing] not only becomes a measure, it becomes an end in itself.”[vii]  Just over a year after the law’s implementation, the National Academy of Sciences President, Bruce Alberts, clearly understood the politics behind standardized testing when he opined, “Everyone wants accountability but it’s easier to test for facts than understanding.”[viii]  Madaus accurately described the past decade by asserting that testing “is now woven into the fabric of our nation’s culture and psyche,” which is evidenced by the fact that even “the valuation of homes in a community can increase or decrease based on these rankings.”[ix]  Standardized testing is contributing to a false sense of achievement where it is assumed to exist, and it is focusing on the process of schooling over substantive learning.

Over the past decade a number of research studies have emerged focusing on the negative consequences of relying extensively on standardized testing resulting in what has become a new cliché: “teaching to the test.”  With “nearly 30 million students” required to “take a minimum of sixteen state tests before graduating…kindergarten,” according to Madaus,[x] is it no wonder that teachers are spending most of their time preparing students for those tests?  Standardized tests come with numerous problems including, but not limited to, their reliability, their limits in telling us what students learn, and the ethical dilemmas they create when they become the principal instruments used to determine students’ future opportunities.

While acknowledging their limited utility, standardized assessments provide us with extremely limited information about what students learn.  Nichols and Berliner describe these tests as “one-dimensional” in their “assessment of learning,” and isolated “from the curriculum.”  Furthermore, this kind of assessment “drives…teaching,” and it “is inauthentic [and] context independent,” and “inflexible.”  They differentiate this “summative” approach to testing with a “formative” approach described as “multidimensional [and] integrated into the curriculum,” providing a more “authentic…context [that is] embedded [and] flexible.”  The former approach is used as an “assessment of learning,” while the latter approach is used as an “assessment for learning” (their emphasis).  They cite an explanation of formative assessment by Paul Black that is worth excerpting here.  Formative assessment is not

designed primarily to serve the purposes of accountability, or of ranking, or of certifying competence.  An assessment activity can help learning if it provides information to be used as feedback, by teachers, and by their pupils in assessing themselves and each other, to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged.  Such assessment becomes ‘formative assessment’ when the evidence is actually used to adapt the teaching work to meet learning needs.[xi]

The primary purpose of any kind of assessment is to provide substantive feedback to teachers and students, not in retaliatory ways that are often counter-intuitive, but as information that can be judiciously maximized by those who are engaged in the genuine development of learning.  Not only is it important for us to understand student learning comprehensively, but is it is also important to provide teachers with the holistic information they need to appropriately respond to the unique learning styles of their students.  Primary focus on standardized test scores limits our ability to discern students’ broader knowledge and understanding or the educational challenges they face.  Tests that ask only factual information institutionalize an educational process that is superficial, expressionless, intellectually illegitimate, and unethical.  Reactionary approaches to student learning that rely on punishments and rewards to effect performance are akin to relying on so-called objective methods used in the natural sciences to understand human behavior.  Students’ intellectual development is undetermined during their school years as standardized tests situate them as objects to be acted upon, manipulated, and sorted.

George Wood, a former principal and director of The Forum for Education and Democracy, directs our attention to “the fallacy of confusing measuring our schools with improving them.”  For instance, according to Wood, “the goal has become simply higher test scores, with no evidence that these scores translate into post-school success.”  Rather, “there is abundant reason to believe that the skills needed to do well on these tests at best reflect a shallow kind of learning and at worst indicate only a better ability to take tests.”[xii]  This begs the question: if we are truly concerned about student learning, why are we relying significantly on standardized tests and disregarding greater focus on multiple forms of assessment that can help us identify a variety of intelligences?  Should efficiency and the ability to repeat facts on a test be given priority over respecting the complexity of human understanding?  “Real standards,” according to Deborah Meier, “depend…on the exercise of…judgment” while acknowledging its “fallibility.”

Part of being a professional requires enjoying the space necessary to make informed decisions, often in collaboration with colleagues, while also realizing that those decisions may be mistaken. When mistakes in judgment occur or misinterpretation takes place, the response should not be to eliminate the ability to exercise discretion, but to facilitate the opportunity for professionals to learn from their own mistakes or misinterpretations, which contributes to their becoming skilled in their profession.  Like learning, teaching is always developing; it is never realized once and for all.  Teaching is a practice that must respond to and interact with a constantly changing backdrop of inimitable and continuously developing learners.  Policies like No Child Left Behind redefine teaching by diminishing its innovative potential and turn it into a sterile, bureaucratic, and unfulfilling process fine-tuned for test-taking efficiency.  Teaching is being streamlined from the top-down because policymakers mistakenly assume that learning and achievement can be mass-produced.  “Our knowledge of what to listen for and how to recognize the array of misunderstandings that might lie behind a child’s errors,” according to Meier, “calls for interpretation that is informed by trained judgment.”  The formidable art of “good teaching,” she adds, “begins when we can answer the questions our students are really trying to ask us, if only they knew how to do so.”[xiii]  Likewise, Berliner and Biddle support “bottom-up strategies” that invest teachers and students in education.  Why inhibit the ability of professionals to make thoughtful and intelligent decisions regarding the students who they interact with on a daily basis?  By decentralizing decision making, “school improvement becomes a continuing process, not a one-time attempt to boost test scores…”  By respecting and trusting their capacities to respond to students’ individualized needs and interests, teachers “feel empowered, and responsible [and] high-quality leadership can develop.”[xiv]

In a society experiencing greater diversity, it is more important than ever to realize how culture plays a significant role in shaping children’s school experiences, making standardized assessments all the more problematic as they tend to be culturally biased.  Therefore, relying on standardized assessments in making conclusions about student achievement (or lack of achievement) make it all the more difficult for teachers to respond appropriately to the unique learning styles and cognitive abilities of their students.  Rote memorization and test preparation skills can easily inhibit creativity and imagination, not to mention the fact that this kind of educational focus is teacher-centered, less dynamic, and assimilatory.

Prepackaged curricula and standardized testing runs counter to current research being conducted in educational neuroscience.  For example, according to Hinton and others, “Contemporary researchers agree that human development involves a dynamic interplay of nature and nurture” as students “are both shaped by and shaping our environment.”  Teaching to the test denies minority students, as well as those in the dominant group, a more active role in shaping the larger culture.  Standardized assessments contribute to rote and drill learning that impose identical learning experiences and uniform expectations for students as they conform to standard methods of test preparation and memorization of facts.  In order for students to shape their culture they require space for novelty, room to exercise their imaginations and opportunities to make use of their creative capacities; otherwise, they become hostage to an educational system that is concerned more about the process of transmitting a narrowly-defined culture set of cultural facts rather than a challenging and substantive commitment to critical normative analysis and meaningful understanding.  So, the focus in education should rely less on test scores and more on cognitive understanding and the role culture plays in that process.  As students interact with their environment, according to Hinton and others, “these experiences actually shape the physical structure of the brain,” highlighting the developmental quality of learning” through interactions.  “Skill theory,” according to Hinton, “underscores the need for dynamic developmental approaches in the study of learning [and] recognizes that proficiency can be reached through multiple developmental pathways.”  Furthermore, “since abilities develop over time, school should focus on the process of learning rather than on performance.”  Advocates of standardized assessments too often assume a simple linear route from ignorance to understanding when that path is realistically much more circuitous.  Multiple factors contribute to learning (or the lack of learning) that cannot be gleaned from standardized tests.  “A school culture focused on nurturing learning rather than judging performance,” according to Hinton, will be much more responsive to the incredibly complex nature of learning that, “is shaped by a synergy of biology and experience,” as well as “emotions” and “language.”[xv]  As Berliner and Biddle have argued, many people still mistakenly assume that intelligence is relatively fixed at a young age.  Taking this for granted contributed to the development of so-called cultural deprivation programs intended to develop cultural capital, which is important, but the positive effects of programs like Head Start often become lost in a sea of standardized assessments that begin in kindergarten and continue through high school.  Intelligence is “quite dynamic and continues to be affected by environmental factors, particularly by access to high-quality schooling, according to Berliner and Biddle.”[xvi]

No Space for Multiple Intelligences Hinder Educational Opportunities

It is illustrative that an increase in the number of books and articles published by academicians focusing on caring, empathy, and aesthetics in education have proliferated over the past two decades.  This trend appears to be a response to the nihilistic nature of school reform that began in the 1980s.  The contemporary restructuring of our schools is driven primarily by the instrumental demands of the business community and its pursuit of global competitiveness, and the resulting emphasis on and correlation of testing data with national economic growth and productivity has made schooling indifferent to students’ creative and imaginative potential.  As classrooms turn into test preparation centers, we are diminishing the space students need to realize their creative interests and abilities.  Classrooms and teaching are becoming more regimented.  Not only are we preventing educators from augmenting the art of teaching, we are also structurally reforming schools in ways that inhibit our ability to recognize the imaginative capacities of students.  As Gradgrind often asserts in Charles Dickens’s novel, Hard Times, “What I want is, Facts.  Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts.  Facts alone are wanted in life.  Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.”[xvii](OBTAIN CITATION)  We are denying educational experiences that could significantly contribute to students’ intellectual growth.  The process of schooling increasingly obscures intellectual growth and educational well-being, and teaching is becoming anesthetized while learning is increasingly stultified and instrumentally driven.  The focus on testing and teaching to the test leaves fewer opportunities to recognize, let alone focus on, students’ multiple intelligences, which are more likely to be understood through multiple methods of teaching and assessment.

In addition, we are doing students a disservice when we allow courses that are not part of the high-stakes regiment to be dropped from the curriculum.  This minimizes opportunities for students to acquire greater intellectual depth and breadth.  Since schools, teachers, and students are working under threat of punishment, there is little incentive for schools to offer the kinds of courses that enhance intellectual curiosity, creative thinking and critical analysis.  Rather than liberating our students intellectually, we have forced them to succumb to a set of educational reforms that objectify learning and position education as a mere means to an end while thwarting their comprehensive abilities.  Thus, a high school diploma is less likely today to signify a student’s creative potential than to reflect his or her ability to take standardized tests.  What I have asserted elsewhere appears to be applicable to our contemporary focus on standardization; namely, “difference is suppressed in favor of uniformity and novelty is diminished in favor of predictability.”[xviii]

As opposed to standardized, high-stakes testing, formative assessments are much more effective in helping teachers “identify learning needs, giving feedback, and tailoring teaching strategies to meet student needs,” according to Hinton and others.  “It promotes higher levels of student achievement and greater equity of student outcomes.”  Standardized assessments, on the other hand, provide little feedback that can be utilized by teachers in addressing students’ academic challenges.  “Formative assessment can support students’ sense of competence because it provides scaffolding throughout the learning process that promotes success.”[xix]  Formative assessments are advantageous to students and teachers because they substantively contribute to learning, understanding, and the identification of unique problems.  The extensive use of standardized tests illustrates a lack of appreciation for the complex nature of teaching and learning.

Let Us Not Forget the Purpose of Educators

There is no doubt that a perfect test would alleviate the complex nature of learning.  As Deborah Meier asserts, our focus on testing is driven by the following assumptions among policymakers: “The more objective the ‘standards,’ the more distant and scientific the results; the more universal the population tested, the less negotiable the consequences and the less room for argument, excuses, flexibility, bias, and compromise.”  If only we could reach a point, Meier sarcastically explains, where schooling could be “more like the merciless but efficient and effective market-place –with test scores standing in for the bottom line.”[xx]  As if we expect Adam Smith’s invisible hand to somehow play an important role in the competition for knowledge, we increasingly extract from the learning process the social component developed by student-teacher and student-student interaction other than what is instrumentally necessary to obtain the end goal; namely, the productive output identified on standard assessments.

Even if our primary goal is focused on remaining globally competitive we must question educational reforms that diminish the potential for creative learning environments.  Teachers and students must be given extensive opportunities to enhance individualized learning and assessments of that learning that can best be developed and implemented by teachers exercising their professional discretion applicable to their students.  According to Boote, “Professional discretion…is descriptive and normative, individual and social.”  It is considered “adequate…when [a] teacher has the ability to make professional judgments and the capacity to act on those judgments.”  Indeed, this requires us to develop “policies that best support their work.”[xxi]  As professionals who have devoted a number of years training to be effective teachers, it is to our own detriment as a society if we do not utilize the expertise they bring to classrooms.  Ignoring the important social relationships that must develop among students and their teachers “has frightful side effects,” according to Meier.  “For the young to be adrift in a world in which those who know them best are told that they do not know them at all undermines what growing up most requires: faith in adults and respect for their expertise.”  As Meier further asserts, what is most troubling, “is that in the name of objectivity and science –two worthy ideas –the testing enterprise has led teachers and parents to distrust their own ability to see and observe their own children.  In fact, objectivity and science start with such observation.”[xxii] Standardized tests are objective in the sense that every student has the same opportunity to take the same tests, but do we really want to focus on “objectivity” if our goals include improving academic achievement?  Trying to maintain objectivity is insensitive to the unique capacities of students and it reduces teaching to a mere supervisory role intended to guarantee the functionality of the test-taking apparatus.

Conclusion: A Paradigm Shift -From Schooling to Education    

In our drive to find the perfect test or the perfectly developed curriculum, we are turning education into a vacuous process.  We are increasingly reforming education in ways that reduce learning to the administration of procedures rather than spirited and challenging experiences that reflect the needs and creative potential attributable to a vast and diverse nation of students. A deadening educational process is not going to give us an edge in a global economy where creativity and innovation are required more than ever.  We must focus on the individual needs of real sentient children whose capabilities and interests need our thoughtful attention.  When the purposes of education are so narrowly defined, we only contribute to the development of a reticent learning environment that stunts students’ innovative potential.  The structure of schooling and the system that is being driven by testing alienates students from education and belittles them in a process perceived to be operating external to and beyond their volition.  Students are unable to express their potential in a process that obscures their active as opposed to passive roles in learning.  If the research on standardized testing and punitive measures has taught us anything over the past several years, it includes the importance of our focusing less on institutional efficiency and more on developing classrooms and learning environments that improve the ability of students to think and develop intellectually.

[i] Richard Rothstein. Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2004, 14-17 and 37-47.

[ii] Richard Rothstein. Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2004, 15-17 and 37-47.  Also see Leon M. Lederman. “Alternative Approaches to High-Stakes Testing” The Phi Delta Kappan 87, no. 6 (2006): 429-431.

[iii] Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman. (Interviewers) & Diane Ravitch. (Interviewee). (2010). Leading Education Scholar Diane Ravitch: No Child Left Behind Has Left US Schools with Legacy of “Institutionalized Fraud” [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from web site:

[iv] Linda Darling-Hammond. “Restructuring Schools for Student Success,” Daedalus 124, no. 4 (1995): 153.

[v] Amy Gutmann. Democratic Education. Princeton University Press, 1987, 303.

[vi] Daniel Walker Howe. The Political Culture of the American Whigs. The University of Chicago Press, 1979, 36.

[vii] Excerpted from Elizabeth H. DeBray. Politics, Ideology & Education: Federal Policy During the Clinton and Bush Administrations. New York: Teachers College Press, 2006, 100.

[viii] Excerpted from George Wood. “A View from the Field: NCLB’s Effects on Classrooms and Schools,” in Deborah Meier et at. Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act Is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004, 41.

[ix] George Madaus, Michael Russell, and Jennifer Higgins. The Paradoxes of High States Testing: How They Affect Students, Their Parents, Teachers, Principals, Schools, and Society. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc., 2009, 4-5.

[x] George Madaus, Michael Russell, and Jennifer Higgins. The Paradoxes of High States Testing: How They Affect Students, Their Parents, Teachers, Principals, Schools, and Society. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc., 2009, 1.

[xi] Sharon L. Nichols and David C. Berliner, Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America’s Schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007, 184-188. Also see Paul Black et al., Working Inside the Black Box: Assessment for Learning in the Classroom. London: King’s College London School of Education, 2002.

[xii] George Wood. “A View from the Field: NCLB’s Effects on Classrooms and Schools,” in Deborah Meier et at. Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act Is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004, 35.

[xiii] Deborah Meier, “Standardization versus Standards,” The Phi Delta Kappan 84, no. 3 (2002): 197.

[xiv] David C. Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle. The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America’s Public Schools. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1995, 338.

[xv] Christina Hinton, Koji Miyamoto, and Bruno Della-Chiesa, “Brain Research, Learning and Emotions: implications for education research, policy, and practice” European Journal of Education 43, no. 1 (2008): 87.

[xvi] David C. Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle. The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America’s Public Schools. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1995, 48.

[xvii] Charles Dickens. Hard Times.

[xviii] Brian W. Dotts. Citizen Dissent in The New Republic: Radical Republicanism and Democratic Educational Thought During the Revolutionary Era (Doctoral dissertation), Indiana University, 2005, 307.

[xix] Christina Hinton, Koji Miyamoto, and Bruno Della-Chiesa, “Brain Research, Learning and Emotions: implications for education research, policy, and practice” European Journal of Education 43, no. 1 (2008): 92.

[xx] Deborah Meier. “Standardization versus Standards” The Phi Delta Kappan 84, no. 3 (2002): 191.

[xxi] David N. Boote, “Teachers’ professional discretion and the curricula” Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice 12, no. 4 (2006): 462-463.

[xxii] Deborah Meier. “Standardization versus Standards” The Phi Delta Kappan 84, no. 3 (2002): 198.


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Walsh, Kate. “Through the Looking Glass: How NCLB’s Promise Requires Facing Some Hard Truths about Teacher Quality.” The Clearing House 78, no. 1 (2004): 22-25.

© Brian W. Dotts and Democratus, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brian W. Dotts and Democratus with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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