In the five years since a federal law mandated an expansion of reading and math tests, 44 percent of school districts nationwide have made deep cutbacks in social studies, science, art and music lessons in elementary grades and have even slashed lunchtime, a new survey has found.
The most detailed look at the rapidly changing American school day, in a report released today, found that most districts sharply increased time spent on reading and math.
The report by the District-based Center on Education Policy, which focuses on a representative sample of 349 school districts, found recess and physical education the only parts of the elementary school day holding relatively steady since enactment of the No Child Left Behind measure in 2002.
The survey provides grist for critics who say the federal testing mandate has led educators to a radical restructuring of the public school curriculum in a quest to teach to new state tests. But backers of the law, which is up for renewal this year, say that without mastery of reading and math, students will be hampered in other areas.