Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Retrospective: Latino Students After Seven Years of NCLB

Elena Rocha at the Center for American Progress has a new article up: "NCLB and Latinos: No Latino Child Left Behind Matters." She does a good job profiling the Latino education crisis AND speaking on the positive gains that Latino students have made under the accountability-focused NCLB.

And then there's this:

Failure to take immediate action to improve public schooling for Latinos will be detrimental. There isn’t much time to reverse course. Latinos are and will continue to be a significant force in every aspect of American life. Admittedly, constructing a 21st century education system that properly supports Latinos and other minorities, poor children, English language learners, and children with disabilities will require greater commitment and financial investments from federal, state, and local leaders. But continuing on the existing path is not an option.

I don't take issue with her assertion that public schooling for Latinos must improve - it's true, it must. But I have to disagree that "greater commitment and financial investments from federal, state, and local leaders" is going to be the key to improving those public schools. More money does not equal a better education; take DC, for example, which consistently ranks among the lowest in the country on student achievement, yet spends over $13,000 per pupil.

Years of pouring money into our school system has not solved the Latino education crisis - 42% of Latino students still drop out of high school before graduation.

Therefore, I ask: do you want a system that supports all kinds of learners? Where students attend schools that serve their individual educational needs? Where Latino students are consistently successful, because they are learning in a way that suits them?

Give families a choice. Give them school choice.

And best of all: it won't cost us millions of dollars.

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