More time for minority students with language issues, states can opt out from testing, added subject assessments, and increased teaching pressure… These are just a few things being considered with the new laws congress is proposing to pass with the No Child Left Behind act. Take a look at an excerpt from the following story by the New York Times about the changes. ↓
…A draft proposal being floated by Representative George Miller, chairman of the House education committee, would soften many of the law’s accountability provisions while maintaining its overall strategic goal: to bring every student to proficiency by 2014 by requiring states to administer standardized tests and to punish schools where scores do not rise. Read the full story at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/01/washington/01child.html?ex=1189742400&en=518110ef4d3e60b4&ei=5070
Love it, Hate it! Dilemmas – NCLB
The new proposal would allow students who live in high minority states to test their skills and proficiencies in their native language for five years, instead of the current three year limitation. I think this is a mistake! If we allow students more time to be tested in their native language, it will delay them from learning the English language. Many of them will fall into a “comfort zone.” Research shows because of vast cultural differences, immigrant students test poorer than those who live in America, because they don’t understand our slang language. In other words, the longer the delay of teaching minority students English, the more difficult it is for them when tested. If anything, we should be funding more English speaking classes.
The new plan also has subject areas such as math and reading scores combined… and will be adding history, science and civics to be tested. So with this plan, it would be lowering the testing qualifications with students, while increasing the subject areas tested within the scheme. This is a contradiction in testing proficiencies. It seems the plan is creating more loopholes where accountability in teaching and learning will actually decrease.
Another interesting part of the new laws is where the state schools can “opt out” of annual testing all together. If this occurs, there would be no fiscal record of learning accountability. How would our government know if there are learning increases or decreases within the opt-out schools? I don’t understand this option, and think it should be avoided.
I fully support the part of the draft where students would be prevented from transferring from failing schools to attend academically higher performing institutions. When higher achieving students leave failing schools, it increases the educational gap. It does not fix the problem, rather, it adds to the problem. Let’s face it! When “smarter students” leave a failing school, it lowers performance levels. It was never a wise option to allow parents the choice to remove their children from a poorly graded school – because the solution is not with the school, but with the quality of teaching and learning programs offered. It is my belief that every student can learn… and I mention this loosely. I am aware that poorer, socioeconomically challenged schools have their work cut out for them. But if schools can be properly supplied with essential teaching resources, they can, and do achieve. Visit this link about school integration: http://www.tcf.org/list.asp?type=NC&pubid=900
I know, there’s a lot to think about here. What are your thoughts on the new NCLB?