Tuesday was a Happy Day in Milwaukee as most of the original cast of the popular show came to town for the unveiling of the Bronze Fonz. There was a full schedule with a dedication/unveiling, a parade through downtown and a ceremony at Miller Park just before a Brewer game. During the television coverage of the Brewer game the man of the hour, Henry Winkler, was interviewed in the stands. While most of the interview focused on the show and the days activities, the interviewer briefly opened the door to Winkler’s passion, education. Noting that Winkler’s daughter is a teacher that earned her degree in Wisconsin, the interviewer asked him why education is so important to him. For a brief moment he got very passionate and said the following:
We have No Child Left Behind which is leaving every child behind. Children are raining through cracks in this country. If we don’t do something now – and not just lip service ‘ if we don’t take care of children now, this country is in trouble.
It is official, the Fonz says that NCLB has jumped the shark. Looking at the realities of the policy one can clearly second that observation. Last year the One Wisconsin Institute reported that the State of Wisconsin has been shortchanged out of $600 million in federal funding promised through NCLB. The analysis also found that each year the annual funding deficit grew significantly. Although it has caused major budgetary problems in Wisconsin and all across the country, special education and schools that receive Title I funding have probably suffered the most under NCLB. Tragically those are some of the very areas that need the most support.
Whether it is this massive shortchanging of funds, or the overreliance on strict standardized testing, NCLB has proved to be a vicious cycle of failure. Some of our most vulnerable students are paying the price for it, and you can take it from the Fonz, that just isn’t cool.