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Thread: Obama to continue ridiculous 'No Child Left Behind' nonsense

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Obama to continue ridiculous 'No Child Left Behind' nonsense

    The great mystery of education policy today is why the Obama administration is embracing the Bush program. I recently wrote in Education Week (June 10) that it is time to kill the Bush-era No Child Left Behind program. The overwhelming majority of teachers agree with me. Those who educate our kids know that NCLB is a failed program that is not improving our schools but rather turning them into test-prep factories and dumbing down our kids. Bush's main advisor Sandy Kress reacted with outrage on the website of Education Week, and Tom Vander Ark on Huffington Post called me an "edu-curmudgeon" for speaking plain truth.

    Let me say it again: It is time to kill the Bush-era No Child Left Behind program. This is a program in which the federal government requires every state to test every student from grade 3-8 in reading and math every year. If states do not make "adequate yearly progress" towards 100% proficiency by 2014, then the schools face a series of increasingly onerous sanctions, ending with their being closed down. Vander Ark thinks that this punitive approach to school improvement is swell. I don't.

    If judged solely by test scores, the only coin that the NCLB crowd understands, the law has been a dud. Kids today are making less progress on national and international tests than they did during the Clinton administration years.

    While our kids focus endlessly on preparing to take their state tests in reading and math, they are not learning science, history, geography, foreign language, the arts, or anything else but how to find the right bubble on a standardized test.

    A California study in Science magazine predicted that by 2014, nearly 100% of all elementary schools would be deemed failures because of NCLB. This would unleash a flood of sanctions: closed schools, fired staffs, public schools handed over to private management (a remedy that has recently been proved ineffective in Philadelphia, among other places), and public schools handed over to state control (another ineffective remedy).

    Now Secretary Arne Duncan promises to close 5,000 low-performing schools. The thought of closing 5,000 schools thrills today's so-called "reformers," although none of them has any idea how to make them better. Where will Duncan find 5,000 new principals? Is there an army of great teachers waiting to staff those 5,000 schools?

    The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965--which is the original law onto which No Child Left Behind was grafted--had none of these punitive features. It was premised on the belief that the federal government could help schools by sending more money. In fact, the federal government never sent much money, never more than 10% of overall spending, and often much less than that. No one today could visit a typical inner-city school and complain that its biggest problem was that it got too much federal money.

    But with this leverage, the new mandarins of education want to control all of American education. For some reason, first the Bush people and now the Obama people believe they know exactly how to fix American education. (Chicago, their model, is one of the lowest-performing cities in the nation on national tests, and Texas was never a national model for academic excellence.) Their answer starts with testing and ends with data and more testing. If children were widgets, they might be right; but children are not widgets, they are individuals. If reading and math were all that mattered in school, they might be right, but basic skills are not the be-all and end-all of being educated.

    A recent study by Common Core (Why We're Behind: What Top-Performing Nations Teach Their Students But We Don't) shows that the top-ranking nations do not spend endless hours preparing for tests of basic skills. Instead, in nations such as Finland and Japan, there is a balanced curriculum of science, history, geography, the arts, foreign languages, civics, and other studies. Meanwhile our children are learning to guess the right answer on a multiple-choice test!

    The amazing thing about American education today is that the Obama people--who promised revolutionary change--have no ideas other than to tighten the grip of President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind program on the teachers and children of the United States.

    Diane Ravitch

    Diane Ravitch: Obama Gives Bush a 3rd Term in Education
    plus ca change..
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Noooooooooooooooo!
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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    School is just a throw-away these days. Forget about recess, art programs, and after-school activites. It's all about sitting in a crowded classroom and being taught how to dot a mark at the end of the school year, and then it's off to college to bury yourself in student loans. Yay!!!

    Thanks Obama for the change!

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Here's another version I found on this story.

    Obama on No Child Left Behind

    by Anna Weinstein

    It looks like No Child Left Behind, one of the most hotly debated education issues of the decade, is here to stay—though not without some major changes. While most would agree that the intent of NCLB was both positive and important, many educators, researchers, and policymakers believe there are major flaws with this legislation.
    “… I’ll tell you what’s wrong with No Child Left Behind,” President-elect Barack Obama said in a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire in 2007. “Promising high-quality teachers in every classroom and then leaving the support and the pay for those teachers behind is wrong. Labeling a school and its students as failures one day and then throwing your hands up and walking away from them the next is wrong.”
    So what does Obama propose we do to turn NCLB around? To start, he says it’s necessary to provide the funding that was promised and give states the resources they need. Additionally, Obama suggests two fundamental reforms to NCLB:
    Improvements to Assessments
    Obama’s administration believes funds should be provided for states to implement a broader range of assessments to evaluate higher-order skills, including students’ abilities to use technology, conduct research, engage in scientific investigation, solve problems, and present and defend their ideas. These assessments should provide immediate feedback so teachers can begin improving student learning right away.
    Improvements to the Accountability System
    Obama believes we need an accountability system that helps schools to improve, rather than one that focuses on punishments. He believes schools should assess all children appropriately, including English language learners and special needs students. The system would evaluate continuous progress for students and schools all along the learning continuum and would consider measures beyond reading and math tests; it would also create incentives to keep students in school through graduation, rather than pushing them out to make scores look better.
    The suggested improvements will be welcomed by many parents and educators. “These reforms are needed,” says Cindy Reed, Ed.D, Director of the Truman Pierce Institute, a research and outreach unit in Auburn University’s College of Education. “One of the positive elements of NCLB is that it was a bipartisan effort looking at how we can improve public education.” Reed explains that due to underfunding there were unintended consequences and “a lot of the really good ideas that were included within the act were not operationalized in the way they should have been.”
    Linda Chavez, Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a nonprofit public policy research organization, isn’t so convinced. “We’re hearing a lot about how we need to pour more money into education and NCLB,” Chavez says. “I personally think money is not the cure.” Chavez stresses the importance of holding teachers accountable. “Without accountability, you end up with those teachers who stay year after year, teachers who are not open to being evaluated,” says Chavez.
    Criticisms of NCLB
    There have been a number of criticisms of NCLB over the years:
    Lack of Flexibility
    “I think the major flaw with NCLB is that they treat all schools as equal,” says Adam Thibault, Policy Director for Strong American Schools, a nonpartisan public awareness and advocacy organization. “Schools are not given credit for making incremental improvements, and I think there has to be more flexibility within the system.”
    Obama addresses this concern by suggesting a system that evaluates continuous progress along the learning continuum. This would mean using assessments for schools, teachers, and students that take into account their starting point as well as their resources.
    Punitive Approach
    Another criticism has been the emphasis on high-stakes standardized testing as a means of measuring student learning. Many believe that since NCLB, teachers have become overly focused on the testing rather than student learning. “It’s unfortunate,” Reed says. “NCLB has emphasized a deficit approach to teaching and learning rather than building and celebrating successes.”
    Obama’s plan clearly states his belief that schools should be supported to improve, as opposed to focusing on punishments.
    Standardized Testing
    Reed is also concerned with the superficial nature of what standardized tests ask students. “I think we should be using authentic assessment practices,” Reed says. “End-of-year assessments could be developed where you look for opportunities to see how young people used their knowledge in meaningful ways.”
    Obama has said that teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to “fill in bubbles on standardized tests.” He says he will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college.
    Teacher Qualification
    Chavez would like to see a reevaluation of teacher qualification—specifically, what it means for a teacher to be highly qualified. Chavez doesn’t believe teacher education programs are necessarily the best way to train a teacher; having people who have a demonstrated proficiency in the subject that they’re going to teach, she says, is vital. “I think we need to be open to thinking more creatively and getting experienced professionals who want to be in the classroom and who want to share their expertise,” says Chavez. “I’m 61 years old, and I might know a great deal about constitutional law and American History, but if I wanted to teach part-time in the public school system after I retired, I couldn’t begin to do that.”
    Obama’s Teaching Service Scholarship program will prioritize recruiting math, science, and technology degree graduates, and his Teacher Residency Program can place trained subject matter experts in high-need districts. Obama points to New York’s Math for America as an example of a successful program that “helps to build a community of excellent teachers to serve in high-needs areas.” Though the details of Obama’s teacher scholarship and residency programs are yet-to-be-seen, it is clear Obama has plans to recruit teachers who are not on the standard teacher education program track.
    Future of NCLB
    In 2006, the American Federation of Teacher’s (AFT) recommendations to improve NCLB focused on the following four areas:
    • Assessment and Accountability
    • School Improvement Interventions
    • Staffing Schools
    • Funding and Systemwide Accountability
    How many of these recommended improvements will be made is unknown. “NCLB is mostly going to play out in Congress,” Thibault says. “People had hoped it would be at the top of the agenda, but obviously with the economic meltdown, it slid down the agenda.”
    Necessary reforms aside, NCLB has had some positive outcomes. “It certainly raised the level of public awareness and opened the doors for a lot of healthy dialogue about what needs to happen in public education,” Reed says. “The recognition at the national level that there are inequities in the educational opportunities was incredibly important.”
    It’s critical, Reed says, to recognize that all children can learn and to have some kind of accountability measure to require that we separate data pertaining to student learning. “With some major tweaking and shuffling of the procedures to support the priorities, NCLB could be a good foundation,” Reed says. “Especially in light of its bipartisan support.”
    Chavez agrees that though NCLB has not been entirely successful, it represents progress in the right direction. “All you have to do is look at the data to see that there have already been a lot of improvements,” Chavez says.
    And parents and educators across the country will no doubt be waiting anxiously to find out the future of this legislation.
    What are Obama's other plans for education? Check out Obama on College Funding, Obama on Early Childhood Education, Obama on School Choice, Obama on Math, Science, and Tech Education, and Obama on Teacher Recruitment and Retention.


    Anna Weinstein is a freelance education and academic writer. She has written and edited textbooks and materials for many educational publishers, including McGraw-Hill, Harcourt, Houghton Mifflin, and Rosen Publishing.
    Obama on No Child Left Behind

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    Elite Member NicoleWasHere's Avatar
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    Glad to know I voted for change. :/

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    Elite Member Jexxifer's Avatar
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    Gawd, this is terrible news. My son is about to start Kindergarten in August.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    As someone with two school-aged kids, i can tell you that the educational system is totally fucked under NCLB. It is unfixable and the legislation needs killing. Now.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    Did anybody read what Kingcap printed??
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Yes, and your point is?
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    He plans on a lot of changes. We as a nation are so far behind most countries I will try anything. After 27 years in education it is getting worse. I've worked pretty much with the same teachers, so I think it is what the parents are sending us. Some teachers are horrible, no doubt, and it should be easier to get rid of them. There are good ones though and a teacher can only do so much if no one at home supports them, or supports education.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    PLEASE. Schools are overfunded now and teachers are lazy ass fucks. I'm sick of everyone trying to blame the parents. My parents hardly ever helped me with schoolwork, yet I graduated with a 4.0, among many thousands of others. Nothing will improve such a miserably failed program as NCLB and it needs to be recalled, pronto.

    Schools are constantly screaming about how they are udnerfunded, yet never ever turn in any results. Fuck 'em. Pass out vouchers and create more charter schools.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member shedevilang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greysfang View Post
    PLEASE. Schools are overfunded now and teachers are lazy ass fucks. I'm sick of everyone trying to blame the parents. My parents hardly ever helped me with schoolwork, yet I graduated with a 4.0, among many thousands of others. Nothing will improve such a miserably failed program as NCLB and it needs to be recalled, pronto.

    Schools are constantly screaming about how they are udnerfunded, yet never ever turn in any results. Fuck 'em. Pass out vouchers and create more charter schools.
    sometimes it's not the damn parents. I have school age kids as well and this program(if that's what we are calling it)does not work. The teachers don't worry about anything but passing the test so the kids don't learn a damn thing. I'm all for change but if you are going to change this program you need to start from scratch.
    Silly bitches, twitchy links are NOT for kids!-Mel

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greysfang View Post
    PLEASE. Schools are overfunded now and teachers are lazy ass fucks. I'm sick of everyone trying to blame the parents. My parents hardly ever helped me with schoolwork, yet I graduated with a 4.0, among many thousands of others. Nothing will improve such a miserably failed program as NCLB and it needs to be recalled, pronto.

    Schools are constantly screaming about how they are udnerfunded, yet never ever turn in any results. Fuck 'em. Pass out vouchers and create more charter schools.
    I would prefer NCLB was done away with completely, but since that's not going to happen at least try to improve on it.

    But the educational system in America is crumbling and it's the fault of the government, the schools and some of the parents. Until everyone starts making education a top priority again it's never going to be fixed.

    The government doesn't properly fund education, the teacher's unions will protect those teachers who aren't up to par, and you have some parents who don't take any interest in their children's education. When those three things are taken into account is anybody shocked that American kids are falling behind the rest of the world?

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    its just more of Obama's 'throw good money after bad' policy and I'm getting mighty tired of it.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    The US public school system is number 1 in regard to annual spending per student in the world (tied with Switzerland). Improper funding is not the problem.

    Some of the worst school districts in the country, like DC, spend the most money per student. Which proves it's not money that is the issue.

    NCLB is pointless anyway, because even if the federal government witholds the funds from schools due to poor test scores, the fed contribution to educational funding is the smallest part ( as noted in the OP, less than 10%). Local and state governments pick up most of the cost.

    The curriculum, and the methods of teaching are certainly more of a problem.
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