Funding will determine if any effort toward education reform is successful over the long term Tom Bloch says.
Question: Is No Child Left Behind an effective vehicle for reform?
Tom Bloch: I think the general concept of No Child Left Behind is a good one. I think, in practice, it is terribly flawed, and something needs to be done. But I think the idea to get all students to be achieving in high levels is a worthy goal, but we have disparities from one state to another state, and we also have a lack of funding of this law. It was intended that there would be billions and billions more spent in public education than there is today. And so, for the goals to still exist but without the adequate funding is really just wrong.
Question: How would you advise the next administration?
Tom Bloch: Some major changes need to take place. I think one of the things that we have to do is remove the disparities from one state to the next. In other words, you could take a test in one state, perform at a certain level, and that’s considered adequate or proficient, and with that same score, you could be deemed inadequate. And so that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, so I think there needs to be some standardization. I think, in some cases, there should be exit exams. I think, too often, we have students who will get a high grade in a class but yet, when you take that standardized test, it does not measure up. And so those kinds of things, I think, need to be addressed as well as the funding level.
Recorded on: October 13, 2008