Star Parker

Layered on top of this clear and perhaps fatal flaw of NCLB is the fact that alignment of rights and responsibilities is engineered for failure. The same school management that produced the failing schools to begin with is the management responsible for telling families that the school is failing and giving them good information and advice on transferring out their kid. And it is to this same management to which one must turn with complaints (as we must do with ours in our legal filing).

While black and latino kids languish, trapped in Los Angeles' failing schools (31.5 percent demonstrate proficiency in English, 25.7 percent proficiency in math), the Los Angeles school district is busy firing salvos back and forth with scholars at Harvard debating whether the drop-out rate in the Los Angeles system is horrible or just pathetic. According to a Harvard study, 45 percent of kids in Los Angeles schools graduate in four years. The Los Angeles school establishment rejects this data and proudly claims that it's 70 percent.

Being uneducated in America is a ticket to oblivion. Unemployment rates today are almost four times higher among those without a high school diploma than among those with at least a bachelor's degree. Twenty-five years ago, a college graduate earned on average twice what someone without a high school diploma earned. Today it is almost three times as much.

Eighty percent of kids in failing schools are minorities. Seventy two percent of black males in their 20s who have no high school diploma are unemployed.

Each day we get closer to sealing the reality of creating a permanent, irredeemable underclass in our nation. The real shock therapy we need _ nationwide school choice and vouchers where parents have broad freedom where to send their kids to school _ is fought tooth and nail by self interested teachers unions and organizations like, incredibly, the NAACP.

Meanwhile, let's at least get No Child Left Behind right. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has been notified of our complaint and requested to enforce the law by withholding federal funds from non-compliant school districts.


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.