Sunday, February 04, 2007

What the Public Thinks of NCLB

Things got a little hectic around here this week, and I didn't get to finish the series of posts I had lined up to disassemble Dan Meyer's Defense of NCLB. So I'll briefly summarize one of my remaining points.

Dan's piece is framed as some PR advice for his fellow teachers:

Dear Colleagues,
...I’m embarrassed of you. The public thinks we’re a bunch of whiney, overentitled babysitters and ever since NCLB debuted back in 2002, you’ve done precious little to improve our public relations.

The problem with Dan's argument here is that public opinion has remained evenly divided on NCLB, but when people are polled on individual strategies of NCLB, many of them are overwhelmingly unpopular, including some of the ones Dan is encouraging teachers to drop. Look at this Phi Delta Kappan/Gallup poll. For example, 82% are concerned that NCLB will cause less emphasis on art, music, history, and other subjects. You can look at the data yourself for more, but I think it is pretty clear that making these arguments is not bad PR for teachers at all, but in fact the opposite.

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