ERIC Number: EJ873649
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Are Teachers Responsible for Low Achievement by Poor Students?
Berliner, David C.
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v75 n7 p4-8 Mar 2010
Backers of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) based their support on the belief that teachers and administrators primarily were responsible for low levels of achievement by America's poor. But this one-sided view 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 people see in schools than are 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 more difficult. Much of the achievement gap that is the focus of U.S. educational policy is caused by these OSFs; 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. But 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 contends 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: Federal Legislation, Economically Disadvantaged, Low Achievement, Educational Policy, Disadvantaged Youth, Teacher Responsibility, Environmental Influences, Achievement Gap, Accountability, Access to Health Care, Child Health, Nutrition, Hunger, Pollution, Social Problems, Neighborhoods, Violence, Racial Differences, At Risk Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001