Saturday, February 17, 2007

'No Child' Commission Presents Ambitious Plan

'No Child' Commission Presents Ambitious Plan - Washington Post

It is pleasing to see a more ambitious plan for extending No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Whether or not you agree with all aspects of the program, it is inarguable that the children that are being left behind are disproportionately Black and this program focuses attention on them, like never before.

Unlike affirmative action, this attention is not punitive on White kids, and those in need are getting the attention they too deserve. The Federal government is interceding, as a last-ditch effort, to raise performance expectations - something educators have consistently failed to do.

It will take time, but raising expectations with a deaf ear to age-old excuses, many of them racist in origin, will in part turn our society toward results that will advance the quality of our lives. Who knows, this strategy and tactic may catch on in other areas such as juvenile crime. Holding parents accountable, including community support programs, for the behavior of their 'thug-life-subscribing' offspring is not so different than how we are now looking at educators.

Those who are against the 'tough-love' of NCLB should accept that our society is dissolving into a polarized chaos of the haves, the greater have-nots, buffered by encroaching urban combat zones. If we do nothing but excuse the performance gaps, starting with education, we insure their growth and our accelerated retreat to guarded compounds.

James C. Collier


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