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Is "No Child Left Behind" Leaving Behind Minorities?

That's the gist of an AP story today.

By Frank Bass, Nicole Ziegler Dizon And Ben Feller, Associated Press Writers

States are helping public schools escape potential penalties by skirting the No Child Left Behind law's requirement that students of all races must show annual academic progress.

With the federal government's permission, schools aren't counting the test scores of nearly 2 million students when they report progress by racial groups, an Associated Press computer analysis found.

Minorities - who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing - make up the vast majority of students whose scores are being excluded, AP found. And the numbers have been rising.

...The law signed by Bush in 2002 requires public schools to test more than 25 million students periodically in reading and math. No scores can be excluded from the overall measure.

But the schools also must report scores by categories, such as race, poverty, migrant status, English proficiency and special education. Failure in any category means the whole school fails.

States are helping schools get around that second requirement by using a loophole in the law that allows them to ignore scores of racial groups that are too small to be statistically significant.

Suppose, for example, that a school has 2,000 white students and nine Hispanics. In nearly every state, the Hispanic scores wouldn't be reported because there aren't enough to provide meaningful information.

State educators decide when a group is too small to count. And they've been asking the government for exemptions to exclude larger numbers of students in racial categories. Nearly two dozen states have successfully petitioned the government for such exemptions in the past two years. As a result, schools can now ignore racial breakdowns even when they have 30, 40 or even 50 students of a given race in the testing population.

Of course it's all Bush's fault...


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Comments (10)

I'm almost afraid to reply ... (Below threshold)

I'm almost afraid to reply to this for fear of it being taken wrong.

Minorities - who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing

Why the hell is that? You can't tell me math or English is racist. I'm not going to buy that such a huge percent of educators are racist. I'm damn sure not going to believe it's white people's fault when Asians do so well on average.

I certainly don't think it's genetic or race based. I think the culture of these minorities is to blame. Maybe hispanics, who are named as having their scores excluded, should freaking learn to speak English and not be running about with Mexican flags and skipping school?

I'd be curious to know what the scores of blacks and hispanics from England or another English-speaking country would be.

I think there is a problem ... (Below threshold)

I think there is a problem with Blacks and Hispanics not being taught or as well educated as other races.

I don't think it is a racial trait.

I think it's more indicative of 1) Left over cultural damage of segragation, 2) lack of the minorities' focus on education as an important part of the social construct of the groups in this country, 3) a direct result of the socialist policies that continually lower standards under the claim of anti-racism rather than addressing the real problems.

While some on the left are simply misguided I think there is a large portion of the left that actively seeks to continually play the victim and race card for blacks and my fellow hispanics for no other reason but to keep them ignorant and dependant on them.

Far from being a helping hand up from the barrios and ghettos most socialist policies are intended to make sure they stay there. Nothing a liberal hates more than a slave who won't keep his place.

Just look what happens to an African-American who refuses to be called Toby and expresses a conservative viewpoint....the Liberals can't wait to lynch them...

It's not the numbers that a... (Below threshold)

It's not the numbers that are important, it's the percentages. Say, for example, some school does have the extremely large number of 30, 40 or 50 students from a minority group. But if that's a large school, that may be no more than a few percent of the student body.

If you're a smart black, yo... (Below threshold)

If you're a smart black, you're a "Poindexter" or
an "Uncle Tom." This anti-intellectual culture
is long overdue for a reverse course in direction.

Don't look for Democrats or Jesse Jackson to
foster such a change.

I don't see what is so cont... (Below threshold)

I don't see what is so controversial - if numbers aren't statistically significant, then the intelligent thing is not to consider them. We have enough problem in Oregon getting the State to cough up the dollars they promised our school districts and didn't deliver - and struggling districts like ours now fighting further Federal cuts due to poor scores 'cause State didn't fund, etc.

How about no school system left behind?!?

Minorities - w... (Below threshold)
Minorities - who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing Why the hell is that? You can't tell me math or English is racist. I'm not going to buy that such a huge percent of educators are racist. I'm damn sure not going to believe it's white people's fault when Asians do so well on average.

Race doesn't come into play but culture does. We tend to use race when we mean culture because more often than not a group of culturally similar people are of the same race.

To answer the question, different cultures have different sets of values. If the culture values education and achievement, the people of that culture will tend to excel at those things. If the culture views education and achievement as a betrayal*, the people of that culture will tend to do poorly at those things.

- MikeB

*Condi Rice, Colin Powell

It makes sense only if the ... (Below threshold)

It makes sense only if the sample size of the minorities is insignificant in comparison to the total number tested.

HOWEVER, if there are children with learning problems, they should be identified and treated differently. In other words, they should be identified BEFORE the test is given. Excluding them after the fact is a sign of a bad educational system.

Surprise!! I mostly agree w... (Below threshold)

Surprise!! I mostly agree with the republicans and frat boy on this one. I think it's a disgrace that some schools are not testing ALL the children in order to get better test scores for their schools.

If the minority children are bringing down the scores of the schools, so be it!! Teach them and put the effort into getting their families more involved in their education. You are not going to hear me make excuses for poor learning in the black community, because it's not the governments fault, it's ours. Education starts in the home. We need to do a better job of teaching our children, and start placing more value on education like other minority groups do. Having said that, it's outrageous to read that some states don't think enough of educating children the right way and would try to actively find loop holes in the law to get around doing what's right.

The no child left behind plan might have some flaws, but the old system as we know it is broke and needs fixing. It's time these politricksters stop playing politricks with our children's future, and start holding the families and community leaders accountable.

Wait a minute-the minority ... (Below threshold)
just me:

Wait a minute-the minority kids aren't being exempted from the test-they still take the test, their scores just aren't counted as part of the "all races" mandate, because their percentage would be statistically insignificant.

Also, unless a student is new, most of them are identified before testing, and they are able to receive appropriate accomodations for the testing. Although some learning disabled kids are going to be disabled to the point that their scores are also exempted-ie a child identified as mentally retarded is not expected or mandated to perform at grade level, although they do want to see improvement in scores for those kids.

just me; I stand corrected,... (Below threshold)

just me; I stand corrected, but my argument still stands. In fact, this makes the situation even worse, because we now know that the minority students are failing at a much higher rate. Thus, I suspect, that the schools do not want their scores included for that very reason.

Again, education starts in the home, and until black folks start stressing that to one another, we have no one to blame but ourselves.






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