I wanted to share two responses I received after I posted thoughts on NCLB and whether Oklahoma was making more progress before the landmark federal law took effect. I realize two responses don’t represent anything close to the totality of views on NCLB, but they’re interesting nonetheless.
This is from Vicki Harbert, counselor at Tishomingo High School (The emphasis is hers; I’ve broken up the paragraphs.):
“No Child Left Behind is a wonderful idea in theory, but a dismal failure in reality. The truth is, there are children being left behind. It is utterly ridiculous to think that all children will achieve to set standards without regard to cognitive ability, economic status, English speaking or not, parental involvement, etc.
“I feel that rural schools in poorer counties in Oklahoma are at a distinct disadvantage in meeting the letter of the law in NCLB. Several reports I’ve recently read tout the fact that student achievement is rising due to NCLB. In actuality, teaching for the test is rising. Why spend time on topics that are not “tested,” even though a teacher may feel they are extremely important to growing a child of integrity, character and knowledge?
“Teachers cannot afford the luxury of a well-rounded education because of the constraints of NCLB. Counselors are being overwhelmed with paperwork, reports, training and testing preparation for the ones helping administer tests, helping students and parents with test anxiety (and even some teachers who feel like their jobs are on the line if their students perform poorly), in addition to the security of the tests! I became a school counselor to counsel and advise students, not to give tests!
“I will leave public education before I am required to add one more test to measure the “success” of NCLB.”
This one is from M. Gene Henderson, a retired 20-year superintendent from Missouri (I’ve changed a few things, but not much.):
“I’m a retired 20-year superintendent, 16 at Francis Howell of St. Charles County, Missouri. FH was the first school to operate a four-cycle, year-round program. We tested to discover the effect. Finally got smart and asked the teachers.”Teachers have already said it loudly and clearly. NCLB is a disaster on the way to a calamity.
“Each responsible administrator should interview a ‘random sample’ (all or 30) of a unit’s teachers. The interview questions should be constructed by interview, then interviews conducted by an (verifiable leader) administrator. Each school has its own result with, we would think, (would) overlap.
“Isn’t it a shame that test scores are sought instead of asking the teacher? Test scores, handled carefully, can tell some things about a group, but almost nothing we want to know about individuals. Too many of us think a number can reveal info about extremely complex matters. ”
Keep ‘em coming. Click below to e-mail me.