reply to post by SilentKoala
Hold up. We need to cover some quick basics about the how/why of this story.
First, under the Elementary an Secondary Schools Act (reauthorized in the 2001 as No Child Left Behind), there are unrealistic mandates imposed on our
nation's public schools, which indicate by 2014...ALL students will be 100% proficient in math AND reading.
Reread for a moment. By 2014, ALL students will be 100% proficient in math AND reading.
Unfortunately, it's not just a goal that public schools are to "inspire" to, rather, there are strict repercussions for schools that have failed to
meet significant progress on their state approved assessments scores each year. For example, after three years of not making the proficiency score,
schools' administrators could be fired and replaced, then entire teaching staff, then potentially a state-takeover so state bureaucrats (lay
educators) can run the schools.
This was originally planned as a bi-partisan legislation. Educators, teacher unions, think-tanks, and researchers were shouting at the top of their
lungs that this law is unrealistic and punitive.
Penalizing a public school district for not being able to demonstrate proficiency of all its kids, despite so many variables that could affect one's
proficiency, is horrible policy.
There is bi-partisan effort to reauthorize NCLB and immediately throw these horrific educational mandates away. But, Congress won't act on it.
States have taken matters into their own hands by applying for waivers to the U.S. Department of Education, but these waivers must still require
schools to divide its student population into "subgroups" and demonstrate adequate annual growth, based upon the data of preceding years.
The Virginia State Board of Education analyzed their student test scores of the last decade and determined a feasible, and reasonable, goal that can
potentially be attained by next year.
I'm not so sure the VA SBOE is proud to create these goals, but they have no choice to comply with US DOE expectations, without fear of funding
slashes, federal takeover, and other mandates imposed on the state and local schools within VA.
If any of you should be outraged, certainly be outraged at the academic inequity that our country does demonstrate. But if you do....then you have to
help be part of the problem too.
- You must volunteer, or choose to work, in our schools and ensure that a single classroom teacher of 30+ students isn't the ONLY teacher of a
- Help support the role of our schools and teachers.
- Approve local decisions for bond issues.
- Build more libraries and public infrastructure for our kids and families.
- Rid our schools of gang influence and crime.
- And this is just a start.
If you're not willing to take personal action to help the life of a student(s), then you must take your outrage directly to Congress and ensure that
they cease these federal mandates on state schools. You must insist that Congress reauthorize NCLB and not tie outcomes to penalties that only
exacerbate the problem not improve.
I'm very proud to read the posts in this thread and see how my fellow ATS community is totally aligned with me on supporting educational equity for
all students. I didn't think our community was this pro-education. It's an awesome reality-check for me.
But, let's make sure we focusing on the proper issues and understand the full complexities. A headline does not do justice to a real story, nor does
a book's cover, right?