What happened to the students pushed out by high-stakes testing?
by Debbie Nathan
"...as the experiences of Leo, Sonia and Yanderier attest, No Child Left Behind has not helped. Instead, it has done inestimable damage to countless young people nationwide, a disproportionate number of whom are Latino. As a result of testing every child, many low scorers have been kicked out of school.
"In New York City, from 2001 to 2004, thousands of struggling students were counseled to leave high school and enroll in adult education and GED classes, so they would not have to take exams whose pass-fail rates figured in the way the New York City educational system was evaluated by the federal government. In Birmingham, Ala., in 2002, school officials admitted they had kicked out 522 students and told them to get GEDs—again, to raise Birmingham’s high-stakes test scores. In Orlando, Fla., over two years, one high school “transferred” 440 academically weak students out of school and into GED programs—and almost all of them simply dropped out. Then there was Houston, where assistant principals and deans worked as “bouncers,” collaring weak students in the halls and ordering them to the office. There, they were kicked out of school and told to find alternative education. The school district did not follow up to see if they’d done so.
"In city after city, most of the adversely affected were students of color."