"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, December 14, 2006

Leave this law behind...

The test results are back.

"How did the corporation do?"
"How did our school do?"
"How did my class do?"

WRONG QUESTIONS!!!

At one time standardized tests were designed to show how students were progressing and what areas they were weak in. The tests were designed to be used diagnostically...to guide teaching and learning.

The tests are still designed to do that...and, in some places, they are even used correctly. But even schools which use standardized test scores correctly are having their scores published and compared to others.

No Child Left Behind has made it impossible to look at test scores without considering the fate of the entire school. The scores are published and used to rank schools. Teachers use them to rank their students, and the government, of course, uses them to decide which schools are worthy of praise and which deserve punishment.

Even the Democrats don't get it. They want to "Fully fund" the law. But a fully funded train wreck is still a train wreck. The No Child Left Behind Act was designed to destroy the public schools in the US...and fully funding it won't change that goal. So the new congress is not going to provide any relief to the millions of students whose educations are threatened by this punitive law. Millions of teachers are going to have to put aside their pedagogical skills and "teach to the test." Thousands of good teachers are going to quit in disgust.

The poorest students, economically and academically, are the ones who are going to be hurt the most. Those who are more focused on finding a meal than finding a definition...those who are struggling to learn at their own pace...those who can't speak the language...they are the ones who will be punished as their schools face sanctions, cuts in funding, and state or corporate take-over.

Sign the petition. If it doesn't work at least we tried.

As Valerie Lute, signer #16048 said, "I don't think this is going to work, but what the hell."

At best it will help...at worst, it can't hurt.

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