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Fasting for NCLB

So author Jonathan Kozol may be known to eat at grandmothers’ homes, but for now he won’t be eating very much. He’s been on a “partial fast” (otherwise known as a diet?) for more than two months now to protest the No Child Left Behind Act’s detrimental effect on urban schools.

In his blog on the Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com), Kozol says the law is undermining impoverished students and their teachers by using military-like penalties to try to force schools to improve, and those actions are siphoning off creativity and the joys of school.

“The poisonous essence of this law lies in the mania of obsessive testing it has forced upon our nation’s schools and, in the case of underfunded, overcrowded inner-city schools, the miserable drill-and-kill curriculum of robotic ‘teaching to the test’ it has imposed on teachers, the best of whom are fleeing from these schools,” Kozol writes.

The House of Representatives held a committee hearing yesterday on its reauthorization proposed by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). That plan, which has been circulated as a draft, would give schools more flexibility in meeting NCLB’s goals but also add more procedural requirements.

Kozol says his fasting consists of consuming only small amounts of mostly liquid foods, except when he has stomach pains, in which his doctor has ordered other forms of nourishment to avoid heart damage. He doesn’t say what it will take to make him stop, but we’re hoping he’ll find some form of relief soon.

“Twenty-nine pounds lighter than I was when I began, I’ve been dreaming about big delicious dinners,” he writes.

Joetta Sack-Min, associate editor

Kathleen Vail|September 11th, 2007|Categories: American School Board Journal, Assessment|

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