Worried about American competitiveness? Worry about our schools.
The No Child Left Behind Act was supposed to fix our broken system of K-12 education by setting higher standards and requiring lots of tests. But the system’s still broken.
Of course, some testing is necessary to measure whether students are learning. But the No Child Left Behind Act has overdone it, turning our nation’s classrooms into test-taking factories where the curriculum is how to take tests rather than how to think.
The one thing we do know about successful classrooms is they require talented and dedicated teachers. And that’s the other problem with the Act. It hasn’t included enough money to pay salaries needed to attract the best and brightest into K-12 teaching — especially into classrooms populated mainly by poor and working-class kids.