Just because the federal government proclaims that no child should be left behind doesn't mean every child is capable of going to college.
One of my favorite cranky bloggers, The Other Dunwoody, today blasts education academia for its emphasis on pedagogy over content. I agree just a bit ... I've encountered one too many teachers in the public school system who regurgitate the same tired lesson plans year after year because they fit the bureaucracy's paper trail and formulations. (Bless the teachers who figure out how to write to the form and then proceed to teach with professionalism and excellence far beyond the understanding of their administrative superiors ... and they've been the rule, not the exception, in Dunwoody schools.) A critical piece of legislation may finally get through the Georgia state morass allowing principals to fire incompetent and lackluster teachers on the basis of poor classroom skills and judgment rather than wade through years of documentation and supplication to highers up. Shuffling them to another school so they can be someone else's problem is currently the only solution available.
I also disagree, for one simple reason: the emphasis on college prep as the end all and be all of high school education leaves too many children behind, in remediation the moment they step into college, in debt because they can't keep that almighty Hope B average, and feeling less than stellar about a vocational track when they have every reason to be proud of those skills.
That isn't a teacher issue. It's another intrusive legislation from the Federal level down.
I believe in multiple tracks: college, technical, arts, so-called career, and more. If we are truly preparing every child for a life of financial independence and self-reliance, then we need to give them the tools to excel with whatever talent or passion they possess. Public (and private) education is failing the carpenters and electricians, early childhood educators and auto mechanics, multi-media electronic technicians and small business entrepreneurs, chefs and store owners, learning disabled and emotionally delayed who don't need a four-year college degree as much as they need the opportunity to explore basic skills that prepare them for a job or technical school, and then forge productive, well paying careers.
No B. A. or B. S. required.