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NCC: ‘No Child Left Behind’ Act is leaving too many children behind

New York, November 28, 2005 – A National Council of Churches committee has warned that the “No Child Left Behind Act” is leaving more children behind than it is saving, especially children of color and poor children.

Instead of treating children “as unique human beings to be nurtured and educated,” the statement says, the act has encouraged school districts to regard children as “products to be tested and managed.”

Declaring that “Christian faith demands, as a matter of justice and compassion, that we be concerned about our public schools,” the NCC Committee for Public Education has issued ten “moral concerns” about the implementation of the act.

The ten critiques examine the effects of the law on students, teachers, schools and their communities.

The committee also faults Congress for appropriating less federal funding than the law originally authorized for every year since its passage.

Today’s statement decries the business-management assumptions that are the foundation of many of the law’s purported reforms. 

“The No Child Left Behind Act approaches the education of America’s children through an inside-the-school management strategy of increased productivity rather than providing resources and support for the individuals who will shape children’s lives,” the statement declares.

“As people of faith we do not view our children as products to be tested and managed but instead as unique human beings to be nurtured and educated. We call on our political leaders to invest in developing the capacity of all schools.” 

The statement criticizes the federal education law in the context of a 1999 NCC General Assembly policy statement that affirmed: “... criticism of the public schools often ignores an essential truth: we cannot believe that we can improve the public schools by concentrating on the schools alone.”

Since the signing of the No Child Left Behind Act in January 2002, the members of the NCC’s Public Education Committee have met on several occasions with members of Congress and policy experts on this law.

Among 65 national organizations the NCC has endorsed a “Joint Organizational Statement on the No Child Left Behind Act.”

“Overall,” the statement says, “the law’s emphasis needs to shift from applying sanctions for failing to raise test scores to holding states and localities accountable for making the systemic changes that improve student achievement.”

Members of the NCC’s Committee for Public Education and Literacy represent: the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ; the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; the Episcopal Church; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Presbyterian Church (USA); the Progressive National Baptist Convention; the United Church of Christ; and the United Methodist Women.

Here is a pdf. copy of the statement. 

Contact:   Jan Resseger, Committee Chair (216-736-3711), (216-308-9611), ressegerj@ucc.org       
NCC News: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252, pjenks@ncccusa.org; Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350, ltune@ncccusa.org


 

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