Punish those Who Fail – NCLB

 By Paul Silli Republicans Jumping Bush's NCLB Ship - From blogger.com

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? 


5 Responses to “Punish those Who Fail – NCLB”

  1. jnhack Says:

    I agree with you that students shouldn’t be tested in their native language….to an extent. Coming from an elementary perspective, we have students coming in who absolutely cannot read in english, but who can read in spanish. So that means that we have not even a year to get them reading in english. I think that students are given one state test a year. No I don’t think they should have four years to take the test in their native language, but I do feel that the first year would be ok. We are getting these brilliant spanish speaking students, but they aren’t performing on the tests because they don’t understand our language. We don’t need to give them four years, but give them a year to get acustomed to their environments/languages. If we do this we won’t be setting them or ourselves up for failure.

  2. singhjulie Says:

    Wow – I can’t imagine the current government allowing such changes in the NCLB act! To allow schools to opt out – I wonder at what cost the schools would pay. Perhaps they would receive no federal funding.

    I think a great portion of the higher achieving students also lies with parents. I think the parental support piece plays a tremendous role in student achievement. Without this, students often don’t see any reason to try.

  3. gatorball Says:

    Yes. Parenting is vital for the success of students. I do agree if you have supportive parents, your children will be more successful. Thanks for the comments. I appreciate your thoughts.

  4. brentgwilson Says:

    Great observations about NCLB. It’s great that they require closer observation and accountability for subgroups divided out by gender, race, and so forth. Not so great that below-progress schools will be those with diverse, under-served populations.

    If those schools got the best teachers assigned, the most resources, then I’d be thrilled. Somehow I think that’s not gonna happen.

  5. gatorball Says:

    No, if a school is low funded, has problem children in both academic, and especially discipline areas, your best teachers will run… I have worked at a “last chance” school, before getting into a good school. I have seen both sides of the challenge. Your troubled schools that have ruff kids truly test the patience and efforts of hard working teachers. You see a lot of effort, and sadly, little payback. It is tough! There is no easy solution to the new NCLB. I just know what they are coming up with needs amending.

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