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letters | Education bill’s critics weigh in

Test-and-punish scheme leaves too many children behind

No Child Left Behind failed to propel all students to academic success or close gaps in achievement. It didn’t encourage schools to deliver a well-rounded, whole-child education. Rather, it promoted narrow, shallow test preparation and toxic stress.

For these reasons, hundreds of thousands of American families have been voting with their feet. They’re opting their children out of NCLB’s overuse and misuse of testing. If the law’s test-and-punish structure is not changed in the current reauthorization process, this resistance movement will grow.

The law’s supporters hoped it would yield more equitable access to quality education. But National Assessment of Educational Progress test results show that achievement improved more rapidly before No Child Left Behind. NAEP also shows that gaps in achievement based on race, income, language, or disability have not closed.

Public education advocates respect Senator Elizabeth Warren and support her fight for working families and economic justice. Winning these battles will help provide children with a strong foundation for learning. Public education needs adequate resources and well-trained educators. It does not need a return to the failed test-and-punish accountability scheme of No Child Left Behind.

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Lisa Guisbond
Executive director
Citizens for Public Schools
Boston