Ok. Now I have a bit of time.
My issue with NCLB is philosophical. NCLB, at its core, holds that the ideal situation is that 100% of the students master 100% of the material presented. Under this philosophy, you don’t present material that isn’t central and required–you reduce everything to the core, to what the kids really, really need, and you teach the hell out of that until they have all reached mastery.
My own classroom philosophy is very different. I teach way over their heads. I don’t, honestly, expect many of them to “master” more than about 50% of what I teach, and I don’t expect any of them to master all of it. But I find that when I set the standards impossibly high, they come up much further than when I set the standards in a range they could probably achieve, with effort.
For example, on the AP Language and Comp exam, students write three essay that are each graded on scale of 1-9. If you can average a 6, you’ll probably pass the exam, and a 6, honestly, is not that hard to write. If you read the sample 6’s, it’s easy to think “Gah. Anyone could do that.”. So a lot of teachers teach their kids to write 6’s. NCLB would advocate teaching the kids to write 6’s, and the best and the brightest would write the best damn 6’s you ever saw. I teach my kids to write 9’s, even though very few (like 2-3 a year) are really capable of it, and none of them can do it consistently. But what I find is that the failed 9, the poorly realized 9, the incomplete 9, is often at least a 6, and it leaves the door open for more.
NCLB assumes that you can teach something really well and it will stay taught. I tend to think that no matter how well you teach something, they never get all of it, so you have to overteach like crazy if you want to get most of them up to par.