One of the most revealing aspects of Fordham’s report on high-achieving kids in the era of NCLB is the accompanying teacher survey:
The national survey findings show that most teachers, at this point in our nation’s history, feel pressure to focus on their lowest-achieving students. Whether that’s because of NCLB we do not know (though teachers are certainly willing to blame the federal law). What’s perhaps most interesting about the teachers’ responses, however, is how committed they are to the principle that all students (regardless of performance level) deserve their fair share of attention and challenges.
This precisely describes my experience teaching 5th grade in the South Bronx. A teacher in a school where the majority of kids read below grade level is unlikely ever to be asked what he or she is doing for kids who are at or above grade level. The immediate concern is triage.