ERIC Number: EJ865403
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 2
Are Teachers Responsible for Low Achievement by Poor Students?
Berliner, David C.
Kappa Delta Pi Record, v46 n1 p18-21 Fall 2009
Backers of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law based their support on the belief that teachers and administrators primarily were responsible for low levels of achievement by America's poor. This one-sided view about who is responsible for the nation's achievement gap is both inadequate and unsupported by the evidence. The author argues that harsh social policies and the pernicious effects of poverty are more responsible for the problems one sees in schools than teachers and administrators. That is, the problems of achievement among America's poor are much more likely to be located outside the school than in it. The effects of many outside-of-school-factors (OSFs) on low-income students make the job of schooling those students much more difficult. The author presents data which suggest that much of the achievement gap that is the focus of U.S. educational policy is caused by these OSFs; and thus schools, as they are ordinarily configured, are not in a position to eliminate this gap. This, of course, is not an argument against improving teaching and schooling in America. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) cannot do that because it is fatally flawed. It makes schools accountable for achievement without regard for factors over which schools have little control. The author argues that America's teachers should be blamed for only one thing--not helping to elect politicians more amenable to legislation that allows more children to enter school healthy and able to learn.
Descriptors: Low Income, Federal Legislation, Economically Disadvantaged, Achievement Gap, Academic Achievement, Educational Policy, School Readiness, Low Achievement, Educational Attitudes, Teacher Effectiveness, Administrator Effectiveness, Educational Improvement
Kappa Delta Pi. 3707 Woodview Trace, Indianapolis, IN 46268-1158. Tel: 800-284-3167; Tel: 317-871-4900; Fax: 317-704-2323; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.kdp.org/publications/kdprecord/index.php
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001