Friday, August 10, 2007

Is it No Child Left Behind (NCLB) or No School Left Behind (NSLB)?

"Both the NCLB and the Higher Education Act are up for renewal this year"

I have finally come to the conclusion that No Child Left Behind really means No School Left Behind. Why do I say this, because when I really stratify down into the interviews I hear, the television shows I see and the newspaper articles I read there is a common theme that most if not all are more concerned about the rating of their school first, teacher penalties second and then yes then the students.

So what happens when a school “fails”? According to the US Department of Education Website in a nutshell it means - If a school falls short of its AYP (Average Yearly Progress) goals two years in a row, it becomes a “Program Improvement” (PI) school. Program Improvement Schools become the focus to an intricate, high-pressure timeline in which they are set up to fail. By law, if Program Improvement Schools don’t make satisfactory progress--as measured by NCLB--at the end of four years, they face major restructuring.

One of the big points is teacher’s will also be looked at with great scrutiny and possibly could lose their jobs. My question is which teacher? The ones who had the students before you did and did mot prepare them or the current one who concentrated on learning instead of testing.

Problem – I don’t know of any public school (not charter) or teacher in trouble because of NCLB? I always read about the penalty but I never hear or see an example.

Another question I have is “Does our education system promote Testing or Quality Learning?” – Testing is an independent point in time type measure (like a snapshot). Learning is ongoing (like a motion picture) that tells the story of one’s life in gaining knowledge and understanding. Please don’t confuse the two and one does not represent or validate the other.

Here is a good site for many opinions and stories about NCLB -

Our education system always seems to have it backwards. Even if the Child does poorly in school (including state tests) they are more than likely promoted to the next grade. In fact I can’t remember the last time I saw a student held back other than at the kindergarten level. We don’t do it anymore because we don’t want to label the child. However, there is no problem labeling special education students by the dozens and oh yes they get promoted too.

Do I dislike the NCLB Act? By my writings you would think yes. In concept it has potential but you can’t wait several years until it’s up for renewal (this year) to make changes or bombard the media with visits from Secretary Spellings and President Bush to many public schools this year advocating its success.

We cannot afford to lose another generation of children to a less than full-rounded education system (State & Federal tests) that relies on just-time labeling type measures (Math, Reading & Science). We need a system that creates a full rounded creative and innovative student that becomes a valued member of society through a process know as education (life long learning in all subject areas) and not a data point called Standardized Test (i.e., MEAP, NCLB).

For more posts by qg on NCLB please go to this site -

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