"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, October 5, 2006

No child left behind-Wikipedia

WARNING: This is too long. If you don't like to read rants by an old man skip it and wait for the next.

After reading the entry at...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_child_left_behind

...as Roger suggested, I would like to add my 2 cents to the list of reasons the law is inadequate and, in fact, harmful to children.

For the obsessive-compulsive among you I have also posted references...but no page numbers. You'll have to find those yourself. I may be working half time, but I don't want to spend my extra moments researching.

1. Introduces an element of accountability into public school education and the expenditure of public funds for education.

Already in place by the states before NCLB

2. Links State academic content standards with student outcomes.

Already in place by the states before NCLB

3. Requires schools and districts to focus their attention on the academic achievement of traditionally under-served groups of children, such as low-income students, students with disabilities, and Blacks and Latinos. Many previous state-created systems of accountability only measured average school performance, allowing schools to be highly rated even if they had large achievement gaps between affluent and disadvantaged students.

The reality is that these disadvantaged students are being left further behind by the obsessive focus on testing...since we know that the only thing that correlates positively with standardized testing is income.

4. Supports early literacy through the Early Reading First initiative.

This is the same initiative that has been wrought with scandal and fixes for publishers who are friends of the Bushies.

http://www.susanohanian.org/show_research.html?id=128
http://www.susanohanian.org/show_research.html?id=129
http://www.districtadministration.com/pulse/commentpost.aspx?news=no&postid=17185

5. Increases the quality of education. Schools are required to improve their performance under NCLB by implementing "scientifically based research" practices in the classroom, parent involvement programs, and professional development activities.

Scientifically based research practices are based on the National Reading Panel's report...a report so filled with errors that the only teacher on the panel wrote a rebuttal which appeared in the final report.

Among other errors from the NRP is the fact that the summary of the report in the "small book" is NOT the same as the information in full report.

6. Establishes the foundation for schools and school districts to significantly enhance parental involvement and improved administration through the use of the assessment data to drive decisions on instruction, curriculum and business practices.

What?

7. Measures student performance: a student's progress in reading and math must be measured annually in grades 3 through 8 and at least once during high school via standardized tests.

It measures the students' ability to take tests and is as reliable as their zip codes. Period.

8. Emphasizes reading, writing, math and science achievement through a number of "core academic subjects" that include subjects as diverse as algebra and art.

All over the country non-tested subjects like art, music, and social studies are being neglected to provide more time for drill.

9. Provides information for parents by requiring states and school districts to give parents detailed report cards on schools and districts explaining the school's AYP performance. Schools must also inform parents when their child is being taught by a teacher or para-professional who does not meet "highly qualified" requirements.

Yes it does this, but the info in the report card is nearly all based on standardized tests which only shows how well students do on standardized tests...and how much money their parents make.

10. Gives options to students enrolled in schools failing to meet AYP. If a school fails to meet AYP targets two or more years running, the school must offer eligible children the chance to transfer to higher-performing local schools, receive free tutoring, or attend after-school programs.

...and then the school which was "failing" gets less money to improve.

...and who gets to transfer? In New York and Chicago (for example), less than 1% of eligible students were able to transfer because of overcrowding.

Also...the definition of a failing school is debatable...in Florida, for example, it is possible for a school to be rated "A" by the state and yet still be labeled "failing" by NCLB.


11. Gives school districts the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency, even for subgroups that do not meet State minimum achievement (AYP) standards, through a process called "safe harbor," a precursor to growth-based or value-added assessments.

It punishes school districts for having students stay in school. The so-called Texas miracle orchestrated by Rod Paige, Bush's first Secretary of Education, was based on students being pushed out of school after 9th grade if they could not pass the tests, and by actual cheating on the tests by school systems. Guess who took no responsibility whatsoever for either of these activities.

12. Increases flexibility to state and local agencies in the use of federal education money.

Yes.

13. Provides more resources to schools. Federal funding for education has increased 59.8% from 2000 to 2003.

Reduces funding for schools which need it most.

14. Seeks to narrow class and racial gaps in school performance by creating common expectations for all.

This is another way in which the most at-risk students are hurt by NCLB. It assumes that "one size fits all," which is not true. With the wide diversity among students there is a need for alternative assessments and expectations based on reason and sound educational practices. The gap between the academic achievement of children in poverty and children of the middle class and wealthy has increased since NCLB was introduced.

Furthermore, the percentage of children in poverty has grown under the Bush administration. This Compassionate Conservatism is ravaging the families of the poor.

15. Addresses widespread perceptions that public education results fall short of expectations.

It guarantees that all public schools in the USA will, eventually be failing schools by requiring a statistically impossible goal of 100% of students passing "the test" be reached by 2014.

REFERENCES

Allington, Richard (2002). Big Brother and the National Reading Curriculum. Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann

Bracey, Gerald (2004). Setting the Record Straight. Portsmouth NH, Heinemann

Coles, Gerald (2003). Reading The Naked Truth: Literacy, Legislation and Lies. Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann

Emery, Kathy, and Ohanian, Susan (2004). Why is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools? Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann

Garan, Elaine (2002). Resisting Reading Mandates: How to Triumph with the Truth. Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann

Graves, Donald (2002). Testing is Not Teaching. Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann

Kohn, Alfie, and Shannon, Patrick (2002). Education, Inc. Turning Learning into a Business. Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann

Kohn, Alfie (2000). The Case Against Standardized Testing. Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann

Kozol, Jonathan (2005). The Shame of the Nation. New York. Crown

Meier, Deborah, et.al (2004). Many Children Left Behind. Boston. Beacon Press

Ohanian, Susan (2002). What Happened to Recess and Why are our Children Struggling in Kindergarten? New York. McGraw-Hill.

Ohanian, Susan (1999). One Size Fits Few. Portsmouth NH. Heinemann

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