Who’s Minding the Gap?
Ah, the achievement gap. So much trouble to fix, so why bother trying? That seems to be the attitude in Washington, where pundits have spent the last several months ripping the current focus on improving the low end of student performance in our nation’s schools. In September the Obama Administration put forward a plan to offer waivers to states that want more flexibility — i.e., less ambitious targets — under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Last week the bottom really fell out when the Senate committee that handles education passed a rewrite of the No Child law basically leaving it to states to figure out how (and probably, in practice, even whether) to close the gaps. In other words, a decade after an overwhelmingly bipartisan effort to get serious about school accountability, it’s open season on a strong federal role in education. How did we get here?