Archives for category: NCLB (No Child Left Behind)

The National Superintendents Roundtable has a message for the public: be fair when judging our public schools. Schools today are far better than they were 40 or 50 years ago, by all conventional measures. what they might have added was that schools made steady progress until about 2007 or so, when No Child Left Behind took hold, then things were made worse by Race to the Top and Common Core. The proliferation of choice has flattened the progress made from 1970 to 2007.

Last night there was a grand event at the Kennedy Center where veterans of the Bush and Obama education world joined together to wring their hands about the crisis at hand. The crisis is not the mess they made of American education for the past 20 years. The crisis is that the tests are not hard enough, the punishments are not tough enough, and the nation needs to buckle down and keep on testing and firing and demanding more from everyone. Except them. Of course.

Our reader Laura Chapman explains what was behind the big party:

“I wanted to look past the PR for this one event. The event is a launch for a new campaign capitalizing on “stagnating” NAEP scores and persistent gaps among students “who have been underserved.”

“The reformists are calling for “evidence based” methods of teaching using only “high quality, standards-aligned, content-rich curriculum.” Suddenly these reformists think “deficits in content-knowledge” matter. But these reformists are really fans of the Common Core and have a lonh history of ignoring much else worthy of study, content in the arts and humanities for example.

“In addition to being sponsored by the Collaborative for Student Success, this “new literacy campaign” is sponsored by Achieve, The Alliance for Excellent Education, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Learning Heroes, Literacy Now, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Council on Teacher Quality, National Urban Alliance, National Urban League, Military Child Coalition, and The Education Trust. These have been supporters of the Common Core, and many love high-stakes tests.

“The Collaborative for Student Success is a multi-faced project of the New Venture Fund. It is supported by: Bloomberg Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, ExxonMobil, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The website markets three of the Collaborative’s favorite math programs, but it also features “campaigns” of the Collaborative. Each campaign has a separate website. All campaigns are based on the premise that states are not living up to the requirements of ESSA. Truly, the sponsors of the Literacy Initiative are die-hard defenders of the Common Core and ESSA. Here are the camaigns in progress.

“A web-based “Assessment HQ” offers test scores and demographic breakouts for test scores “for more than half of states in grades 3-8.” This campaign is designed to claim that state assessments are not tough enough or fully reported to parents. The Collaborative scoops up state assessment results in math and ELA and puts these together in an interactive map. The Assessment HQ is actually sluggish and out of date. It is presenting data from the 2014-15 school year and it was designed to push PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests.

“The “Check State Plans” campaign offers ratings of the state plans for ESSA based on their strict conformity to ESSA. The Collaborative asked 45 reviewers to judge state plans, back in 2017, at about the same time that Bellwether Education Partners also put together a panel to review state ESSA plans. The Collaborative wanted to see “the following principles” honored in state plans. “Set the bar high for what students need to know and understand; Focus on closing the achievement gap in math and English; Ensure that parents and communities have access to meaningful data; Have a real plan for helping those schools that have been historically failing.”

“The “Educators for High Standards” campaign has offered about 12 fellowships to teachers willing to voice enthusiasm for ESSA, along with “partners” from the following groups, all known to push for high-stakes tests and the Common Core: The National Network of State Teachers of the Year, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, PARCC, Teach Plus, Student Achievement Partners (Achieve the Core), National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Hope Street Group, The New Teacher Project (TNTP), Teach for America, Center for Teacher Quality, and Educators4Excellece.
The” Military Families for High Standards” campaign features the work of advocates for schools serving military families. Among the resources is an article from the Center for American Progress titled “How the Common Core Improves Education for Military-Connected Children.”

“The Honesty Gap” campaign asserts that states must take NAEP’s definition of “proficiency” as the standard for judging the “honesty” in state tests. State tests that claim students are “proficient “are dishonest unless the state standard is the same as for NAEP tests. The “honesty gaps” for each state are shown on an interactive map. The explicit message is that schools are often lying to parents about student achievement. The website should be called Arne Duncan’s BS. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=246201831
The “Understanding ESSA” campaign provides news about USDE activities (up-to-date) and links to state actions that comply with ESSA.

The whole website is devoted to belligerent judgments of states, districts, and schools while bolstering advocacy groups who will insist on “strict fidelity” to ESSA in state plans.

These birds of a feather intent on repeating the misery of two decades of top down reform.

 

 

Political Morning Education reports a big event in D.C. tonight where partisans of the test-and-punish education policies of the past twenty years will gather to rededicate themselves to their failed programs. Will these advocates for accountability accept any accountability for the misguided practices they have foisted on American education? Will they hold themselves accountable for the billions of dollars spent on testing and privatization that should have been spent on reducing class sizes and raising teachers salaries and opening health clinics in schools? Wouldn’t it be something if they invited someone like Jonathan Kozol or Anthony Cody to explain why NCLB and RTTT failed and how to have a better approach to teaching and learning other than carrots and sticks?

 

BUSHES SPOTLIGHT READING, LITERACY AMID GRIM ASSESSMENTS: Events starting tonight at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will bring together members of the Bush family, best-selling authors and entertainers, philanthropists, and education and business leaders to celebrate reading and mark the foundation’s 30th anniversary.

— “I believe that literacy is an essential foundation for democracy,” former first lady Laura Bush said in a statement provided to POLITICO. Bush, one of tonight’s honorary co-chairs, will deliver remarks during a program that will include a special performance by country music singer Tim McGraw and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham, co-authors of “Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music that Made a Nation.”

— The events, including the foundation’s inaugural summit on adult literacy on Wednesday, coincide with grim results on the Nation’s Report Card and an announcement today from the Collaborative for Student Success about an effort with 11 other organizations to address the results.

— Among the organizations are The Education Trust, the National Urban League, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. They’re calling for, among other things, increasing federal investment in evidence-based, comprehensive literacy efforts at the state and local levels.

— “The persistent gaps in reading achievement for students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities on the NAEP require urgent action,” said John B. King Jr., former Education secretary and president and CEO of The Education Trust.

 

Guy Brandenburg offers a graph of 8th Grade scores on NAEP from 1992-2019 for four jurisdiction and invites you to find a miracle , if you can.

The 2019 ACT scores, which are supposed to measure “college readiness,” dropped to a record low. 

This follows nine years after the release of the Common Core State Standards, which were supposed to promote “college and career readiness.”

Nick Anderson of the Washington Post writes:

ACT scores for the high school Class of 2019 show that rates of college readiness in English and math have sunk to record lows, testing officials reported Wednesday.

Among nearly 1.8 million in the class who took the college admission test at least once, ACT — the nonprofit group that administers it — reported that 59 percent reached a score indicating readiness in English and 39 percent did so in math. Those results continued a several-year slide. The English readiness rate was the lowest since the readiness measure debuted in 2002, and the math readiness rate equaled a record low set in 2002.

ACT defines its readiness benchmark as a score indicating a student has at least a 50 percent chance of getting a B or higher in a corresponding first-year college course. For English, the ACT benchmark is 18 out of a maximum 36. For math, it is 22.

When students took a strong course load through high school, ACT found, they fared better.

“Our findings once again indicate that taking core courses in high school dramatically increases a student’s likelihood for success after graduation,” ACT chief executive Marten Roorda said in a statement. “That’s why we need to ensure that all students of all backgrounds have access to rigorous courses and that we are supporting them not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well.”

The ACT — one of two major admission tests — assesses students in English, reading, math and science with multiple-choice questions that take nearly three hours to complete, not counting an optional essay-writing exam. More than a dozen states pay for all high school students to take the ACT during school hours, and others fund the testing on an optional basis….

Among 15 states where officials said nearly all graduates took the test, only four posted an average composite score of 20 or higher: Nebraska, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin.

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Education activist Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, commented:

This ACT report along with stagnant or dropping NAEP scores provides a devastating indictment of the Gates/Coleman/Duncan Common Core reform agenda – which was supposed to have provided the opposite result.  And yet Duncan doesn’t acknowledge this in the WaPost (big surprise).
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-we-can-learn-from-the-state-of-our-nations-education/2019/10/31/0e365c64-fbfa-11e9-8906-ab6b60de9124_story.html
http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/cccr-2019/National-CCCR-2019.pdf
College Readiness levels in English, reading, math, and science have all decreased since 2015, with English and math seeing the largest decline.
States and districts have spent billions of dollars to adopt the Common Core standards–on new textbooks, new tests, new professional development, new technology, all aligned to the Common  Core.
The same amount might have been devoted to reducing class sizes, putting a nurse in every school, increasing teachers’ salaries.
The definition of a corporate reformer is someone who never admits he or she was wrong. They apparently live by the John Wayne credo of “never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.”
In this case, however, it might be a good sign to let educators adapt to the students in front of them rather than follow a script written in D.C. that is not working.

Gary Rubinstein, math teacher at Stuyvesant High School, is a skilled myth buster. He frequently unmasks “miracle” stories.

In this post, he demolishes the claim that Louisiana has improved faster in 8th grade math than other states.

This is the last gasp of the Disruption movement, which has controlled federal and state policy for 20 years but has little to show for it.

As Rubinstein shows, Arne Duncan and John White are leading the effort to find the “bright side” of the latest NAEP results, which were stagnant In 2019 and have been stagnant for a decade.

Duncan says the nation should look to Louisiana for inspiration. Louisiana ranked among the bottom  states on NAEP, 44th to 49th, depending on the grade and the subject. But how creative to point to one of the lowest performing states as a national model! Do what Louisiana did and your state too can rank among the bottom five states in the nation!

Gary points out that Louisiana has indeed improved, but its 2019 scores on 8th grade math were actually a point lower than its scores were in 2007! In other words, Louisiana hasn’t gained at all for the past dozen years!.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the leaders of the Disruption movement admitted that their 20-year-long policy of test-and-punish is both stale and failed?

Wouldn’t it be great if they said, “Whoa! We’re on the wrong track. We’ve inflicted nonstop testing on the nation’s children since 2002. We have spent billions on testing and test-prep. Scores went up for a few years but leveled off in 2007. Enough! Our answers are wrong. Time for fresh thinking.”

 

 

Mike Petrilli, president of the rightwing Thomas B. Fordham Institute, published a report about the “dramatic achievement gains” of the 1990s and 2000s. 

Surprisingly, he attributes most of these gains to improving economic conditions for poor families of color, not to standards, testing, and accountability, a cause that TBF has championed for years. But, not to worry, TBF has not changed its stripes, dropped out of ALEC, and joined forces with those who say that poverty is the main cause of low test scores.

So, I give Mike credit for acknowledging that improved economic conditions and increased spending had a very important effect on student academic performance. But he can’t bring himself to say that the accountability policies of NCLB and Race to the Top were poisonous and harmful, and that Common Core was a complete bust. He seems to be straining to find examples of states where he thinks high-stakes testing and school choice really were positive.

My first thought as I reviewed his data on rising achievement was that all these graphs looked very familiar.  Yes, they were in most cases the graphs (updated to 2017) appeared in my book Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (2013). I used these graphs to debunk the Corporate Reformers’ phony claim that America’s public schools were failing.  I cited NAEP data to show the dramatic test score gains for African-American and Hispanic students. I argued in 2013 that test scores had risen dramatically, that graduation rates were at a historic high, that dropout rates were at an all-time low.

The data, I said, demonstrate the hoax of the Reformers’ narrative. Despite underfunding, despite an increased number of students who were English learners, despite numerous obstacles, the public schools were succeeding. Most of the gains occurred prior to enactment and implementation of No Child Left Behind.

Now, to my delight, I find that Petrilli seems to agree. He even admits that the decade from 2007-2017 was a “lost decade,” when scores on NAEP went flat and in some cases declined. Yet, despite his own evidence, he is unwilling to abandon high-stakes testing, charter schools, vouchers, and Common Core. How could he? TBF has been a chief advocate for such policies. I don’t expect that Mike Petrilli will join the Network for Public Education. I don’t expect him to endorse new measures to address outrageous income inequality and wealth inequality, though I think he should, based on his own evidence. And I doubt very much that TBF will withdraw as a member of the fringe-right, DeVos-and-Koch-funded ALEC.

Mercedes Schneider has a sharp analysis of Petrilli’s almost “mea culpa.”

She does not forgive him for serving as a loud cheerleader for Common Core, testifying to its merit even in states that had standards that were far superior to those of CCSS.

The title of her post sums up her distaste for his newfound insight that “poverty matters.”

“Common Core Salesman Michael Petrilli: *Economics Affect NAEP, But Stay the Ed-Reform Course.”

She does not forget nor forgive TBF’s ardent advocacy for the ineffectual Common Core Standards. She refers to TBF as “Common Core Opportunists.”

Schneider accuses Petrilli of cherry-picking the data so that he can eke out some credit for standards-testing-accountability by overlooking the irrelevance of CCSS and the big gains before the era of Corporate Reform:

Moreover, for as much as Petrilli pushed CCSS in its 2010 – 2013 heyday, he is notably silent on the CCSS lack of connection in his October 2019 NAEP score analysis. Petrilli only mentions CCSS one time, and there is certainly no encouragement to further examine any connection between his Gates-purchased CCSS push and NAEP subgroup scores.

Petrilli had yet another opportunity to do so in his 2017 “Lost Decade” piece about NAEP scores from 2007 to 2017, which Petrilli links to in his October 2019 report. No mention of CCSS at all.

It is noteworthy that Petrilli’s “lost decade” begins with 2007, the year that NCLB was supposed to be reauthorized, but lawmakers could not seem to make that happen; the bipartisan honeymoon that produced NCLB had apparently ended.

NAEP scores soared prior to NCLB and continued to do so for several years after NCLB authorization in 2001, but then came a leveling off, and for all of TBF’s selling of a CCSS, the NAEP “lost decade” continued.

Petrilli does not bother to consider whether the standards-and assessments push has negatively impacted NAEP scores. Instead, he assumes that pre-NCLB IASA was the beginning of “the real revolution.”

No word why that standards-and-testing “revolution” has not continued to raise NAEP scores even though standards-and assessments continue to be the end-all, be-all of American K12 education.

However, in convoluted and contradictory fashion, Petrilli does include standards and assessments in the NAEP-subgroup-score-raising “secret sauce,” even though he has already spent the bulk of his argument justifying the mid-1990-to-2010 NAEP subgroup-score rise as related to improved economic conditions for school children.

So, NAEP subgroup score rises appear to be correlated with socioeconomics, but a slice of credit must also go to the standards-and-assessments push, but not beginning with NCLB, sooner than that– 1994– but let’s ignore rising NAEP scores of Black students in the 1970s and 1980s.

Schneider contrasts Petrilli’s newfound appreciation for the importance of economic conditions with his deeply ingrained commitment to the Bush-Obama “test-and-punish” regime, in an article published just a few weeks ago:

Here’s Petrilli again, this time from September 23, 2019, Phi Delta Kappan, in a piece entitled, “Stay the Course on Standards and Accountability”:

So what kind of changes do we now hope to see in practice?

Here’s how we might put it: By raising standards and making the state assessments tougher, we hope that teachers will raise their expectations for their students. That means pitching their instruction at a higher level, giving assignments that ask children to stretch, and lengthening the school day or year for kids who need more time to reach the higher standards.

Gotta love the “we.” Must be the royal “we” because it sure is not “we” as in “we who work directly with children.”

For all of his promotion of “accountability,” Petrilli is accountable to no one– a hypocrisy with which he is apparently comfortable enough to “stay the course.”

 

 

 

 

Rachel M. Cohen tells an important and powerful story of the time when Senator Bernie Sanders stood up to Teach for America.

His efforts were ultimately defeated by Arne Duncan, Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado, and Eli Broad.

In 2011, the Obama administration and TFA’s friends in Congress were eager to call the program’s inexperienced and ill-trained recruits “highly qualified,” to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Law. At that time, Sanders was the only member of Congress to question how a recent college graduate who had never taught could be considered “highly qualified.”

TFA enjoyed the vigorous support of the Obama administration, which gave the wealthy organization $50 million in 2010 (as did the ultra conservative, anti-union Walton Family Foundation). In addition, TFA placed its alums on the staff of every member of the Senate and House education committees, thanks to the generosity of a California billionaire named Arthur Rock, who are then in a position to protect TFA’s interests as well as funding for charter schools. TFA recognized that few if any members of Congress pay close attention to education, since the federal role in education is small, especially compared to issues like healthcare, Social Security, and foreign policy. Thus, most rely on junior staff to inform them, which gives extraordinary power to the TFA plants.

Cohen tells the story of TFA’s battle to ensure that its uncertified recruits were considered “highly qualified” teachers, an oxymoron.

Beginning in the mid-2000s, the group was enmeshed in a dispute over teacher credentialing under the No Child Left Behind Act that demonstrated its ability to marshal influence in D.C. Under the law, a school district was permitted to hire educators who did not meet the “highly qualified” bar if there were teacher shortages. Schools that did so, however, had to then inform parents if their child was taught by such a teacher, publicly disclose how many teachers in the entire school were not highly qualified, and develop a plan to reach 100 percent highly qualified teachers. The law also barred schools from disproportionately concentrating inexperienced and uncertified teachers in classrooms with low-income students and students of color. In other words, if noncertified teachers had to be hired, they also had to be fairly distributed across schools.

Teach for America and its allies in the education reform community lobbied the government, and in 2002, the Department of Education issued a regulation that said “highly qualified” teachers could now also include unlicensed teachers for up to three years if they were making progress toward their certification. This effectively resolved the problem for Teach For America, as most program recruits planned to leave the classroom at the end of their assignment anyway.

In 2007, the civil rights law firm Public Advocates filed a suit against the Department of Education over this regulation. In effect, the lawyers argued, it created an exemption that condoned the assignment of novice, inexperienced teachers to students in high-poverty schools, which are disproportionately nonwhite and low-income.

“It seemed pretty simple to us all along that you can’t have a law that requires ‘full state certification’ for teachers to be highly qualified and also say that people who are in the process of getting their certification meet that designation,” said John Affeldt, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “Those are two different states of being.”

Affeldt said there was little question as to why the 2002 regulation came about. “Teach for America applied pressure because they saw the original statute as threatening to their model and to the growth of their organization,” he said. “At some point between its founding and the mid-2000s, Teach for America had changed its belief system from ‘Every student needs fully qualified, highly effective teachers’ to ‘Every student needs us.’ TFA’s model depends on being able to concentrate their people in low-income, high-minority schools, and they thought that was a good thing. And if the law incentivized districts to hire other types of teachers ahead of TFA, well, they didn’t want that. They wanted to be seen on the same level, and some in leadership truly believe that TFA’s teachers-in-training are as good or even better qualified than certified teachers who might apply.”

TFA fought the lawsuit in court and lost, then flexed its political muscles in Congress to protect its interests. The Democrat-controlled Congress overrode the court decision, which infuriated civil rights groups, which actually wanted highly qualified teachers in the classrooms of the neediest students.

The civil rights groups turned to Senator Sanders to fight their battle against TFA. He took up their banner, insisting that “highly qualified” should actually mean “highly qualified.”

In a Senate HELP committee hearing, Sanders emphasized that his amendments would not conflict with the goal of attracting new, bright teachers to the classroom, and said he is “a strong supporter of programs like Teach for America and other efforts to attract young people into education.” But, he stressed, it is wrong to characterize someone starting in the classroom two months after college graduation as already highly prepared.

“I think most of the people around this table would agree that doesn’t make any sense,” Sanders said. “That doesn’t make that person not a good teacher, not an inspired teacher; it simply does not make that teacher ‘highly qualified.’”

“If you had a heart condition, and you were going to go to a surgeon, you would go to a surgeon who has many surgeries successfully done,” he added. “And while another surgeon may be wonderful, a young surgeon who hasn’t yet performed his first surgery, you would probably go to the experienced [surgeon] who has already achieved a certain level of accomplishment.”

But Sanders’ efforts were countered and ultimately defeated by the persistent opposition of Senator Michael Bennett, recently appointed to the Senate after serving as superintendent of the Denver Public Schools. Bennett was and is a huge supporter of corporate reform. He is not an educator. Before his appointment to manage the Denver schools, he was a financier.

When the issue came up again a year later, members of Congress were lobbied by billionaire Eli Broad, who was then vice-president of the neoliberal Center for American Progress and an array of corporate charter chains, which needed TFA recruits. They falsely claimed that without the TFA loophole, “hundreds of thousands of tremendously gifted teachers who have a significant impact on students will not be able to continue to teach.”

Cohen points out that Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro conducted a study that determined that more than 800,000 of the nation’s neediest students had teachers who were still in training, not certified, certainly not “highly qualified.”

This is an excellent analysis of how TFA flexed its muscles and power to defend its self-interest, undermine the plain language of the law, and inflict unqualified teachers on children who actually needed—but didn’t get—highly qualified teachers.

 

 

 

Jan Resseger reviews fifteen years of corporate education reform led by Arne Duncan and Rahm Emanuel and finds failure, disruption, and racism.

It started in 2004 when Arne launched his Renaissance 2010 initiative, pledging to close 100 “failing schools” and replace them, in large part with charter schools. Rahm continued it by closing 49 schools on a single day.

Resseger relies on the brilliant analysis of the school closings by Eve Ewing, where she showed the pain inflicted on black families and communities by the closings.

Corporate school reform in Chicago, while claiming to be neutral and based on data, has always operated with racist implications. Ewing provides the numbers: “Of the students who would be affected by the closures, 88 percent were black; 90 percent of the schools were majority black, and 71 percent had mostly black teachers—a big deal in a country where 84 percent of public school teachers are white.”(Ghosts in the Schoolyard, p. 5).

Resseger then turns to a new study by Stephanie Farmer of Roosevelt University, which found that the city’s school-based budgeting disadvantaged the poorest schools, where black children were concentrated.

A new report from Roosevelt University sociologist, Stephanie Farmer now documents that Student Based Budgeting Concentrates Low Budget Schools in Chicago’s Black Neighborhoods.

Farmer explains: “In 2014, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) adopted a system-wide Student Based Budgeting model for determining individual school budgets… Our findings show that CPS’ putatively color-blind Student Based Budgeting reproduces racial inequality by concentrating low-budget public schools almost exclusively in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods…  Since the 1990s, the Chicago Board of Education (CBOE) has adopted various reforms to make Chicago Public Schools work more like a business than a public good.  CBOE’s school choice reform of the early 2000s created a marketplace of schools by closing neighborhood public schools to make way for new types of schools, many of which were privatized charter schools.”

There is a rumor in Washington that Rahm wants to be Secretary of Education in the next Democratic Administration. Nothing in his record qualifies him for the job. He failed. Arne Duncan failed. The nation is living  with the consequences of their failed ideas, which were inherited from George W. Bush, Rod Paige, Sandy Kreisler, and Margaret Spellings.

 

 

Nancy Bailey describes here the determined effort by policymakers to stamp out play and childhood, all in the name of teaching reading long before children are ready to learn to read.

Because kindergarten has become more advanced, preschool is seen as the time children must have prereading skills for kindergarten. If they don’t, it’s seen as a red flag. This makes teachers and parents push children to learn to read early.

Children are expected to know letters and numbers, even basic sight words. They’re supposed to be able to sit and focus on tasks for longer periods. But preschool wasn’t always about teaching prereading skills, and we should question if children that young are being pushed to read too soon.

In 2002, Newsweek published an article entitled “The Right Way to Read.” The title was conjecture. Reporters visited the Roseville Cooperative Preschool in northern California. Children there were called “masters of the universe” because they oversaw play. Children played most of the time. The school based everything on play.

Children played at a science table. They used magnifying glasses to explore flowers, cacti, and shells. They donned smocks to do art, lots of art. They were able to climb and stay active. They had access to books and a dollhouse.

There were no letters or numbers on the wall.

Director and founder Bev Bos told teachers, “Forget about kindergarten, first grade, second grade. We should be focusing on where children are right now.”

But Newsweek didn’t praise the preschool. They were there to show the controversy surrounding it.

The Bush administration had claimed research indicated that 50,000 Head Start teachers were going to have to learn how to provide explicit instruction on how to teach the alphabet, letter sounds, and writing to young children.

Not only that. Preschool teachers were to use a detailed literacy-screening test. Forty-five million was being earmarked for preschool-reading research.

Children were no longer masters of their world. Adults were in control.

Yes, the adults were in control but they made horrible decision that stole childhood and play from children.

For all the hundreds of millions and billions poured into the Great Crusade to Teach Preschoolers to Read, there has been minimal change in NAEP scores for reading, in fourth or eighth grades. Despite the pressure to raise test scores in reading, scores remained stagnant, and no academic progress was made at all for the lowest performing students since the implementation of NCLB almost two decades ago.