Leaving NCLB Behind?

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Education

The Obama Administration wants “sweeping” changes in the Bush Administrations misbegotten “No Child Left Behind” act that wreaked havoc on our schools and, yes, caused more children to be left behind. Here is background from the Mahablog archives on why NCLB is much more of a toxin than a tonic for American education.

Of course, on the Right, the Administration is merely caving in to the teacher’s unions. Don Suber, a man robustly dedicated to remaining ignorant of just about everything, writes, “Whatever the teachers unions want, the teachers unions get, and baby the teachers unions want children to be left behind.” Obviously Suber got left behind somewhere, but we all agree there is plenty of room for improvement in the nation’s public schools. For this reason, education policies need to be crafted to improve public education, not hamstring it.

At Huffington Post, former teacher Eric Tipler analyzes what we know about the Obama Administration’s proposed reforms and is mostly impressed.

Sorta kinda related — Ross Douthat tries to argue that “abstinence only” sex education really works just as well as sex education that includes contraceptive information, even though empirical evidence suggests otherwise. Of course, his ultimate point is that the federal government should get out of the sex ed biz altogether and leave decisions about sex ed in schools to local communities.

But as part of his argument that teaching contraceptives doesn’t reduce teenage pregnancies, either, in spite of the fact that it does, he links to an Alan Guttmacher study that allegedly says school sex ed doesn’t change sexual behavior, period. But I looked at the study Douthat links to, and that’s not what it says. “There was particularly strong evidence that four groups of programs are effective at reducing sexual risk-taking or pregnancy,” the study says, and one of those four groups of programs is “sex and HIV education programs with certain qualities.” Later, it explain that one of those qualities was emphasizing the importance of avoiding unprotected sex. Emphasis added.

Naughty Douthat. But this kind of illustrates a weird quirk in the rightie brain — actual results don’t matter. If they like a program because it comprises their values, then it’s a good program, and disastrous results don’t change that.

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14 Comments

13 Comments

  1. joanr16  •  Feb 1, 2010 @2:23 pm

    “…baby the teachers unions want children to be left behind.”

    As someone who knows and is related to some fine public-school teachers, who’ve told me stories over the years about how their union has helped them to be more effective in the classroom, I have to say that the jerk who wrote that lie is a terrible person. Never met him, but he’s told me all I need to know with that one ugly falsehood.

    As for Mr. Doubt-that, he once wrote a blog post (containing waaay too much information) about how contraception was a real turnoff for him during his (more or less casual) sexual encounters. What an oink. He and Sarah Palin win the Massive Disconnect Prize for the gulf between their idiotic opinions and their personal freakshows lives.

  2. joanr16  •  Feb 1, 2010 @2:24 pm

    (Strikethrough “freakshows” – worked in the preview but not for realz. Let’s blame Internet Explorer.)

  3. maha  •  Feb 1, 2010 @2:29 pm

    joan — With my mighty powers as site admin queen goddess I put the strikethrough in for you.

  4. Swami  •  Feb 1, 2010 @2:57 pm

    Don Suber has a really nice, “Ye Olde Internet Site”, except he should have chosen the parchment background to aid in the dispensing of his wisdom.

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 1, 2010 @7:48 pm

    Of course “abstinence education” works for Douthat.
    One look at him, and women (and maybe men, too, I don’t know, but speaking for this man, I would) want to ‘abstain.’ And anyone with any ‘education,’ who reads his tripe, will also abstain.
    That leaves Douthat with Peggy Noonan, Sarah Palin, Phylllis Shlafley, and other right-wing lunatic women as potential dating partners.
    Maybe Barbara Bush will want to give the old ‘horizontal lambada’ one more go before she goes…
    As for any contraception practiced by this loser, it would be the he glove wears when practicing onanism. After all, who else could love him, but him?

    Thank you NY Times, for adding this boring loser to your Op-ed page. It’s frequently a toss-up between him and Brooks for most insipid column every week. I’ll take David. At least he can occasionally write an interesting sentence…
    And Douthat may soon be competing with MoDo for the winner of the Blanche DuBois nervous breakdown award.

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 1, 2010 @7:57 pm

    Also, this begs the question, “Is our politicians learning?”

  7. Doug Hughes  •  Feb 1, 2010 @8:14 pm

    Let’s look at the rightie argument – ‘Leave education to the states.’ Back in the mid 90s, I had 3 kids in the North Carolina Public Schools. Chapel Hill was an oasis of excellence in a desert of incompetence. At that time, the CAT was the standardized test, and NC always ranked at the bottom – in the bottom 5 states every year.

    You would expect that the NC Dept of Education would send folks to study what Chapel Hill was doing right, but since it was a known haven of liberalism (NC State University) the state would send clowns to try to require that Chapel Hill adhere to the formula that was a dismal failure. As Barbara said : “But this kind of illustrates a weird quirk in the rightie brain — actual results don’t matter”

    But I digress. The solution to the failure of the North Carolina School System in the standardized CAT, was to stop administering the CAT!!!!! (Bang head here)

    So excuse me if I don’t sign the ‘Keep it local’ petition.

  8. erinyes  •  Feb 1, 2010 @8:31 pm

    Well Gulag, there putting food on their families and catapulting the propaganda, baybe they is learnin’………

  9. joanr16  •  Feb 1, 2010 @8:34 pm

    Gawker dug up an old 2001 Harvard Crimson profile of Ross Douthat in his schoolboy daze. NOTE: the following paragraph is NOT satire!

    Indeed, his room is adorned with posters of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe – stars from Hollywood’s glamour heyday – as well as a towering tribute to Gladiator. “I think that Russell Crowe’s evocation of manhood is something all men should aspire to”, he explains, “particularly when there are such obvious parallels between Rome and the United States, with the combination of splendor and decadence of Empire.”

    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2001/12/6/move-over-limbaugh-when-ross-g/

    Gosh, I don’t even know where to begin on the subject of Ross and his opinions about other people’s sexuality. Perhaps just by saying, “Ross, honey, the truth begins at home; and the truth shall set you free.”

  10. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 1, 2010 @9:02 pm

    Joan,
    Ho-hum… Another conservative preaching to the rest of us from their comfortable closet.
    Come on out, Ross. You’ll feel better. Don’t ‘Douthat” for a minute!

  11. Swami  •  Feb 1, 2010 @9:17 pm

    I think Steve Reeves evocation of manhood is something all the guys in my 7th grade class aspired to.. ” I swear by the Gods I’ll avenge you”

  12. maha  •  Feb 1, 2010 @9:23 pm


    Indeed, his room is adorned with posters of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe – stars from Hollywood’s glamour heyday – as well as a towering tribute to Gladiator.

    Is he gay?

  13. Mike G  •  Feb 4, 2010 @2:04 am

    actual results don’t matter. If they like a program because it comprises their values, then it’s a good program

    Magical Thinking. In rightie fundie world, it’s all about what you BELIEVE. If you believe, and proselytize for, GOOD THINGS, then that’s the highest form of saintliness. Actually solving problems is soooo boring, and a distraction from showing off to others what you BELIEVE and luxuriating in the egotism of self-righteousness.

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