One of the few things I have gone on record as having disagreed with George W. Bush about has been No Child Left Behind (NCLB). It was a good idea. Unfortunately good intentions often go awry.
The big problem with NCLB is the fact that the average school administrator is nothing but a sniveling coward. They are terrified their schools will not score well in testing, so they now demand teachers not teach but prep for tests. If the average administrator had the backbone of a jellyfish it would be an improvement to the pathetic excuse of men and women who are only interested in looking good in the next report.
They are so terrified of their own shadows that they enact draconian zero tolerance rules which have seriously contributed to the dramatic rise in drop-out rates throughout the nation. I could tell you the story of a young woman I know, a National Merit Scholar, getting ready to graduate with honors and a fortune in scholarship money. A few weeks before her graduation she was caught smoking in the parking lot, and suspended for two weeks. A downward spiral began that led to her dropping out, losing her scholarship, involving herself in a dramatic early marriage, and no college.
Yes, smoking in the parking lot was a bone-headed move, but it was one that should not have destroyed her life. What was once an extremely bright future turned into yet another New Mexico statistic. Administrators are so worried about lawsuits they are willing to sacrifice, to cannibalize their young. Just a thought, perhaps they should be subjected to a lawsuit every time something like this happens. I wonder what would happen to dropout rates then?
They sure taught her a thing or two. Gone are the days when being busted on school property while smoking pot would result in a week long suspension. Now the same kid is expelled, out on the streets. The teachers who do have the milk of humanity within them, those who want to salvage a kid like this, are no longer allowed to do so. It could result in a lawsuit.
Instead they must cater to administrators who are so woefully ignorant that they do not recognize the professionally acted words of the Witches of Macbeth. Rather than admit a mistake, the administrator to whom I refer castigated the English lit teacher, demanding to know what sort of thing she was teaching her students. She glared at him and handed him the literature book they were using that year, with the page marked to the offending passage. She then suggested he never set foot in her classroom again if he was that poorly educated.
So, he went back to his zero tolerance, making the school safe from parents who might want to file a lawsuit if their precious darling happened to be the victim of a alien terror attack. He never did bother to check on a couple of the kids in his school who had serious behavioral problems. Never fear, his crocodile tears were prolific when one of those young people committed suicide.
We can just about guarantee that the pot smoking young Barry Obama who was chilling out in the parking lot of his very exclusive prep school in Hawaii would no longer get a second chance. Instead, someone like that would be yet another statistic, advertising the joys and pleasures of zero tolerance. That would bring on a lockdown while the local cops brought in drug dogs and sniffed down every locker and checked every single backpack and handbag on the campus.