Friday, August 12, 2011

Say Goodbye to No Child Left Behind.

School starts in twenty-five days. Because of the state shutdown, many school districts will know if they met AYP or not until sometime  in September.

I roll my eyes at this.  Our district deadlines have all been followed precisely.  The government shut-down was three weeks, so why should the state have an extra month to give the results to districts?  Are these tests all that hard to grade?  I don't get why the results  aren't available at the end of the school year.

A week ago, Arne Duncan announced a waiver program releasing the states from some of the requirements  from NCLB.  Mark Dayton announced immediately that Minnesota would apply for one of these waivers immediately.  Details of these waivers won't be available until September. 

What else happens in September?  Oh that's right.  School starts.  We should already have a plan on how to best serve our little darlings. 

Educators state-wide are cheering Dayton everywhere, and I've always been happy with Dayton's stance against No Child Left Behind since he was a senator back in the early 2000's.  But I want more from Dayton.  I want a complete thumb to nose to Arne Duncan - I want the state of Minnesota to stand up to the federal government and say what Dayton is really thinking...

No Child Left Behind is not good for our kids.  No Child Left Behind is not good for our schools.

Kids spend more time testing yearly than teachers, accountants, med students, and lawyers.  Of course, I have no idea how much time is used in each classroom across the state preparing students for these tests.  We are spending too much time worrying about kids' test scores rather than things that really matter.

Throughout the districts of which I taught, many students are in the red - Their basic needs are not even being met.  Students come to school hungry, and thankfully, the breakfast program helps with this.  The fact is that many parents can't even afford to feed their children breakfast, and that says a lot right there.  I remember one school district I taught in an 18 year old stayed in an abandoned farm house and would come to town early to shower at a friend's house.  I never realized how many homeless young adults there are.  How many sixteen-year-olds hop from one friend's house to another's. 

In another class, Maybe, a girl told me that she had been raped. Maybe another girl tells me she didn't make it to school because she was taking care of a her mother who had a hangover.   Maybe there's a kids in the corner with a new black and blue mark they can't explain.  In that same class, there's probably a kid or four who has ADD.  Maybe there's three kids who have a reading disorder or two.

All the while No Child Left Behind is pushing for results, district budgets call for bigger class sizes.  Which means all these kids are in the same classroom learning how to prepare for a test that is virtually meaningless to them.


Eunice said...

This is the most effective anti-testing piece I've read recently, and I've read several. Nice presentation!

ME said...

Thanks Eunice! That means a lot to me!