Dowling College Public Policy Institute Concludes That Federal No Child Left Behind Inititative (NCLB) Leaves Long Island Children Living IN Poverty Behind
"There is no more important contribution to sustaining the regional economy than insuring that every Long Islander is ready to participate in the next generation's workforce," said Dowling College President Robert J. Gaffney in releasing Dowling College's Long Island Economic and Social Policy Institute (LIESP) study titled, "No Child Left Behind: A Good Idea Not Living Up To It's Promise."
LIESP Director, Martin Cantor, CPA, M.A., who co-authored the study with Dr. Patrick D. Johnson of the Dowling College School of Education said, "The data indicates that 49 of Long Island's 127 school districts had an increase in children being left behind between the 3rd and 8th grades, and that a relationship that can't be ignored exists between the burden of economic and cultural poverty on these Long Island children's efforts not to be left behind."
Mr. Cantor noted that, "this relationship becomes clear when the poverty levels of students attending the 49 school districts was compared to the Nassau and Suffolk County average for people living in poverty, resulting in 47 or 96% of these school districts having students living at poverty rates that exceeded each district's respective county." "These correlations," Mr. Cantor said, "indicates that poverty plays a role in students not meeting NCLB standards, and a reauthorized NCLB should direct and appropriate new resources that address the additional needs and challenges facing children living in poverty."
Dr. Johnson emphasized that "High Stakes Testing, which is the basis for the School Report Card, is not the best way to assess the educational achievement of students." Johnson continued that the "emergence of NCLB, and the central emphasis it places on testing our way to successful academic achievement has little relationship between academic competitiveness and a nation's economic competitiveness, while benefitting the testing industry and tutoring companies, and unfairly criticizing dedicated teachers and hard-working over-stressed children."
Mr. Cantor said, "that today's workers must have skills strongly based on intellectual capacity and critical and imaginative thinking, thus leaving children without these skills behind to carry the additional burden of economic and cultural poverty with them, ensuring them a life of poverty, lacking the talents necessary to help them escape the poverty that they were borne into."
Mr. Cantor and Dr. Johnson concluded by saying, "no one is against the intent of NCLB that directs policies and resources for the education of children, but it has left Long Island children behind." "Entrapped," Mr. Cantor and Dr. Johnson said, "are those in poverty and may well be Long Island's new immigrants who can not speak English, yet are the very Long Islanders that must be educated so that they can fill the jobs necessary to sustain the region's future workforce." "Unless we find a more effective way to judge a student's academic achievement, other than High Stakes Testing, with funding that provides resources and support for children living in poverty, thus enabling them to learn the skills necessary to access the jobs created locally by the global economy, the future of Long Island's economy remains fragile."
The study can be viewed on the following page: http://www.dowling.edu/liesp/papers/LIESPWhitepaperJun22.pdf.
About Dowling College
Dowling College is an independent, coeducational college that serves more than 6,500 students at
its historic Rudolph Campus on the banks of the Connetquot River in Oakdale, NY, and the 105-acre
Brookhaven Campus in eastern Long Island and a business center located near the Nassau-Suffolk
border in Melville. Dowling offers Bachelor′s, Master′s, and Doctoral degrees in several
disciplines through its four schools: Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Education.