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《考研英语阅读理解100篇 基础版》第6章 教育类 Unit 75

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2019年01月19日

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On March 18th Margaret Spellings,the secretary of education,announced a pilot reform to the No Child Left Behind Act(NCLB),George Bush's education law,which was passed in 2002.Up to ten states,she said,would be allowed to target their resources at the most severely struggling schools,rather than at the vast number needing improvement.The change drew a predictable mix of praise and censure.Above all,though,it was a reminder of utter inaction elsewhere. 
Congress,which was supposed to re-authorise the law last year,has made little progress.On the campaign trail,concerns over Iraq and the economy have made education a minor issue.Contrary to appearances,the law's main tenets are unlikely to be abandoned completely.But for the Democratic candidates in particular,a proper debate on NCLB is to be avoided like political quicksand. 
Most politicians agree that the law has the right goals—to raise educational standards and hold schools accountable for meeting them.NCLB requires states to test pupils on maths and reading from third to eighth grade (that is,from the ages of eight to 13),and once in high school.Some science testing is being added.Schools that do not make“adequate yearly progress” towards meeting state standards face sanctions.Pupils in failing schools can supposedly transfer to a better one or get tutoring.Most also agree that NCLB has big flaws that must be fixed.Few pupils in bad schools actually transfer—less than 1% of those eligible did so in the 2003-04 school year.Teachers’ unions say the tests are focused too narrowly on maths and reading,fail to measure progress over time and encourage“teaching to the test”.They also complain that the law lacks proper funding.The Thomas B.Fordham Foundation,a conservative policy group,has exposed wide gaps in state standards.Test-data reflect this.In Mississippi 90% of fourth-graders were labelled“proficient” or better in the state reading test in 2006-07.Only 19% reached that level in a national test. 
John McCain,the Republican presidential nominee,offers NCLB tepid support but fails to elaborate.At Democratic rallies,NCLB is little more than a whipping-boy.Hillary Clinton proclaims that she will“end the unfunded mandate known as No Child Left Behind”.But though she and Barack Obama deride NCLB publicly,each endorses the idea of accountability.They favour using more sophisticated“assessments” in place of tests,want to value a broader range of skills,punish schools less and support them more. How these ideas would be implemented remains unclear. 
Not surprisingly,more controversial proposals can be found among those not running for president.Chester Finn of Fordham thinks the federal government needs greater power to set standards,while states should have more leeway in meeting them.A bipartisan commission on NCLB has issued a slew of proposals.Particularly contentious is a plan to use pupils’ test scores to help identify ineffective teachers as in need of retraining.Of course,standards alone do not improve education.Both Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama propose a host of new programmes for schools,described on their websites if rarely on campaign.But accountability is likely to remain a big part of school reform. 
注(1):本文选自Economist; 
注(2):本文习题命题模仿对象为2003年真题Text 4。 
1.The article begins with an announcement about a pilot reform of NCLB to ______. 
A) show that the federal government is dedicated to improve education quality 
B) tell us that Bush's education law was not properly designed and needs change 
C) introduce how NCLB provokes different opinions and proposals 
D) remind places of utter inaction to implement some measures 
2.What is implied in Paragraph 3? 
A) NCLB's principles are widely recognized but practices questioned. 
B) The aim of NCLB is to encourage students to strive for entering better schools. 
C) An important goal of NCLB is to improve students’ test-taking ability. 
D) The definitions of“proficiency” are different on the state and federal levels. 
3.The Democratic attitude toward NCLB is ______. 
A) indifferent 
B) disapproving 
C) supportive 
D) apprehensive 
4.According to the proposals raised by those not running for president,______. 
A) a more controversial debate should be carried on about NCLB 
B) all the states should strictly meet the standards set by the federal government 
C) teachers who fail to help students improve test scores should leave their schools 
D) teachers should be provided with more pressure and assistance 
5.The text intends to show ______. 
A) that the presidency candidates are lukewarm towards educational issues 
B) that NCLB is flawed with some fundamental problems 
C) the discussion and controversies caused by a pilot reform to NCLB 
D) how NCLB fails to comprehensively improve American education in general 

3月18日,美国教育部长玛格丽特·斯佩林斯宣布将对《不让一个孩子掉队法案》(简称NCLB)进行试点改革,这项教育法案是布什政府在2002年通过的。斯佩林斯指出,在此次试点改革中多达十个州将被允许把资源有针对性地投给那些最困难的学校,而不是分散地投给大批有待改进的学校。正如所料,这种改变引起的社会反应是毁誉参半。尽管如此,这项改革最重要的一点在于,它给那些完全没有采取任何行动的其他地方提出了一个警告。 
国会原本计划在去年重新审定此法,但却进展缓慢。在总统竞选的过程中,候选人对伊拉克和经济事务的关注使得教育问题被挤到了一边。但与表面看起来不同,该法案的基本原则不可能被彻底丢弃。但特别是对民主党总统候选人来说,他们需要像绕开政治“流沙坑”一样回避对NCLB法案的认真讨论。 
大多数政客一致认为NCLB的目标正确——即提高教育标准并使学校确保达标。NCLB要求各州测试三至八年级(8到13岁)学生的数学和阅读水平。学生进高中后要再考一次,并会增加一些对自然科学的考查。没有“适当逐年提高”达到教育标准的学校就会面临处罚。按照法律,在未达标的学校读书的学生可以转到好点的学校或者得到辅导。同样,大多数政客也认为NCLB的问题很大,需要改进。实际上,只有极少数(少于1%)符合条件的学生在2003~2004学年中从较差的学校转学。教师工会指出,仅仅测试数学和阅读范围过小,且考查不出学生随时间所取得的进步,却鼓励了“应试教学”。他们还指责该法律缺乏足够的资金保证。保守政策组织,托马斯B.福德姆基金会指出,各州的教育标准相差悬殊。而考试数据就反映出了这些差距:在密西西比州,90%的四年级学生在2006~2007学年的州阅读考试中被评定为“熟练”或更高级别,但在全国统考中仅有19%的学生达到了这个水平。 
共和党总统提名人约翰·麦凯恩对NCLB仅予以不冷不热的支持,但未能对之详加阐述。在民主党的竞选集会上,NCLB只不过是个替罪羊。希拉里·克林顿宣称她会“取消没有基金支持的NCLB条例”。虽然她和巴拉克·奥巴马公开讽刺NCLB,但两人都支持教学效果考核制。他们倾向于用更复杂的“评估”来代替考试,重视更广泛的技能,增加对学校的支持,减少对其的处罚。但目前如何实现这些主张尚不明确。 
毫不奇怪,那些没有参与总统竞选的人会提出更多具有争议性的方案。福德姆的切斯特·芬恩认为,联邦政府需要更大的权力来制定标准,同时各州在达标的过程中应该有更多的回旋余地。一个两党委员会针对NCLB发表了大量提案,其中的一个尤其引发争议,该计划提出,应通过参考学生的考试分数来鉴定不合格的老师及其是否需要重新培训。当然,单靠制定教育标准并不能提高教学质量。克林顿夫人和奥巴马先生为学校提出了一大堆方案,这些方案如果在竞选中没怎么被提及的话,也会在他们的网页上有详细解读。不过,教学效果考核制可能还是学校改革的主要部分。 
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