Things We Dare Not Say Dept.: A survey of principals across Minnesota shows 97% think it is not possible for the state’s schools to meet the goals of universal proficiency set out under No Child Left Behind. The survey was released Tuesday by the St. Paul-based think tank Minnesota 2020 and the state’s principal associations.
According to the survey, 97 percent of responding principals say that the law’s main goal, to have every student proficient on math and reading tests by 2014, is unattainable. More than 70 percent of the principals say their schools spend more time and resources on test preparation in the law’s wake, and 40 percent say they have taken away class time from arts and other subjects.
Remember the recent comments from Palo Alto schools Superintendent Kevin Skelly who said educators are “deluding themselves” if they think the achievement gap can be completely closed? The scales have fallen from his eyes. “During the past week I have thought about my comments and had a chance to discuss them with staff and parents,” Skelly said last week. “Their comments have caused me to change my thinking on this.”
When Patty Fisher of the San Jose Mercury News asked him what exactly he had changed his thinking about, Skelly took a pass. “I want to move beyond my comments in the newspaper,” he said. ”There was a sense that I was giving up on kids and saying kids couldn’t achieve, and I could see why they took it that way.” So does he really believe that any child — let alone every child — has “limitless” potential, Fisher wanted to know.
“The less I say at this point, the better,” says Skelly.