New Report Reveals Half of Nation's Schools Are Failing

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A girl lines up to run carrying a baton wearing a PS107 tshirt Relay racing is one of three activities 5th graders at PS107 participate in during gym class (Kateri Jochum/WNYC)

Some new numbers about the No Child Left Behind Act paint a bleak portrait of the country's education system. According to a report from the Center on Education Policy, 48 percent of the nation’s public schools did not meet No Child Left Behind's requirements for "adequate yearly progress," a percentage-based criteria for improvement set by individual states. However, students's performance on the national standardized test are not considered in AYP.

Diane Ravitch is a former U.S. assistant secretary of education and author of "The Death and Life of the Great American School System." Mark Wilson is the principal of Morgan County High School in Madison, Georgia.


Diane Ravitch and Mark Wilson

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [6]


What role and influence does the teacher unions play in this? Apparently nobody in favor of the law could be found for the program.

Dec. 15 2011 02:20 PM

We have a presidential candidate who believes that child labor should be a part of the educational process, a society that believes increased productivity (for less money) is more important than having a life, and a government that currently believes that the 1% of us who have the most money deserve more consideration and deference than the other 99%.

And we wonder why, under those conditions, half our schools are failing and why, in spite of our current efforts that doesn't seem to be changing.

Here's a clue, there's more to life than work, capitalism, economics, and bottom lines.

IF more people were provided with opportunities to be the kind of parents, teachers, role models we'd like them to be instead of the workabees they currently are, maybe the results would be different.

Dec. 15 2011 01:06 PM

You invited two guests to conduct a schoolyard beating to NCLB. Where was the balance? You let the principal claim he had proof that tests were bad -- by citing his successful SAT scores! Could you have asked if his average student may not have progressed so much, whether you agree with the test or the metric at all?
And how does the administrator get off with a statement that New Orleans is a failed example and charter schools do not work when the progress made from an abysmal start in N.O. is almost surely due to parental choice and teacher flexibility?
NCLB is as flawed as most sweeping legislation, but NPR is supposed to be better than that. Can you not allow educators to blather without interruption or challenge that tests are bad for their careers but somehow good for uses elsewhere in life and classroom?
Is the fact that Race to the Top was not mentioned an attempt to tar all educator regulation with the same brush? Shoddy journalism at best, top notch propoganda if that was your intent.

Dec. 15 2011 11:23 AM
Rory S. McLaren from Salt Lake City

I was listening to your comments regarding the subject situation. Evidently, the "system" is to blame for the dismal failure of "no child left behind." In this land of no accountability how about including in your discussions the real reason for the failure - now and in the past - i.e. the parents and the children! The Principal you interviewed pretty much summed it up "the children need to have fun." That's the fundamental problem, it's all they do. School should be serious business. I see young girls going to school. Quite frankly, many of them dress as if they were off to a disco party. I was educated in a third world country. I have 10th grade english and have written nine books. Most high school grads don't have the skills to complete a job application. I long for the day a high school grad sues the school system for failing to teach the basic skills they need to simply apply for a job. The high school system in America is now, and has for at least the past three decades, been a dismal failure - thanks in most part to the parents.
Rory S. McLaren

Dec. 15 2011 08:37 AM
Jim Steichen from MINN

Everyone ignores the elephant in the room re: this subject -- How can a Govt that can't even pass a REAL spending cut be entrusted with educating children? This is NOT a task that the Federal or State Govt should be doing.

Dec. 15 2011 08:16 AM
Susan Volk

I don't see it as failing schools or students....I see it as a need for different types of schools that children can succeed in. Not everyone learns the way current schools expect them to.

Dec. 15 2011 08:13 AM

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