Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Don't Tinker with AYP -- Fix it or Get Rid of It

I'm strongly with Russo on this one: fixing or killing the measure of Adequate Yearly Progress -- AYP -- is central to fixing or killing NCLB. Ignoring, tweaking or otherwise fiddling with AYP in advance of actually passing and signing a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act is a terrible idea. It would preempt and confuse the entire discussion (which is perhaps the idea).

The other (bad) motivation for this is to make it easier to reward cities and states that the Feds believe are doing the right thing, despite the fact that they are objectively failing under the terms of NCLB. Otherwise, AYP limits their capacity to pass out money to their friends, allies, and business associates.


Claus von Zastrow said...

Very interesting points.

Your concluding point about objectivity raises some important questions. Is something like AYP--or merit pay tied to test scores--the only escape from cronyism? Or are educators' judgments generally better than policymakers' judgments?

Tom Hoffman said...

I do think that a more genuinely fair system can be devised. Right now we're sneaking up on the equivalent of our approach to immigration (particularly circa, say, 2005), where you let everyone in but technically, keep most of them illegal, so if you decide to, you can start throwing them out with no further explanation. Make all schools "failing," then you can close whichever ones you feel like closing.