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Well I had a lot of fun through this whole blogging experience. The topic I choose was one I am very passionate about, No Child Left Behind. When I started my blog I saw the No Child Left Behind act as simple a bad idea but now I feel I hate it with a passion. I have learned a lot about the accountability system. My favorite article that I read was the one that compares this accountability system to a golf course and its golfers, I found it to be quite funny. I have also learned about what punishments the schools that do not meet AYP must face. Schools have to dump a lot of time and resources into students that don’t even care about school. Worst of all as I stated in my last post talented students are being left behind. AP programs that would once challenge a gifted student are being stripped away, leaving the gifted student feeling like he is trapped in a cage. I really hope our new President does something about this law. I don’t feel the act needs to be stripped away all together I just feel that some vast changes need to be made. I feel the basics are important but I do not feel that they should be pushed just for some dumb score. I don’t have all the answers to fix this program, I wish I did, and even if I did I do not think they would help. I guess we will all just have to stick it out until 2014, and when many schools are still under the AYP we can all have a good laugh at how pathetic this act really was. I can sum up everything I have learned from writing this blog in six words, I hate No Child Left Behind.

Well to have a final word other than how I feel about No Child Left Behind I will say that I really enjoyed this project. I didn’t early on but later I got into it, maybe that’s because I got more passionate about what I was writing about. I thank every one who took time to read my posts, taking that time really gives this project some life, it makes it feel important. In the end I hope you have all learned a little bit about your own educational topics as well as my No Child Left Behind. For any of those who are a big fan of this act I hope I have not offended you too much.

Thank you,

Andrew Augustin

I read an interesting article posted in the Washington Commentary titled, “Climb Out of the Five-and-Dime hole”. The article talks about schools “flying high” spending a lot of money trying to improve themselves to meet the needs of No Child Left behind. I found one quote quite interesting, it stated that “When a policy is not working and requires total revision, the issue may be too complex for campaign rhetoric.” This explains why the policy was not really brought up too much in the recent elections. No Child Left Behind is so complex and so ruined that it has become to complex to make it part of a campaign.

When your stuck in a Five-and-Dime hole you have to find a creative way out, Anne C Lewis the writer of the article feels that a creative way out would be through technological education. When students are tested they are tested on the basics. Students are bored with the basics, teach technology. Use technology to teach the basics, get students interested and involved. Lewis also feels that students should have a career focus at an early age. Instead of forcing students to learn the basics get students to focus on one subject and test him on that. This would lead to more proficient workers in their specific fields. This idea is becoming very universal, Lewis states that

This groundswell for school experiences beyond the basics is universal. Australia, for example, is putting more resources into career training after a study found that 95% of students who had a comprehensive career curriculum in high school were employed two years after graduation, compared to 45% of students who were not in the program and not college-bound. (Lewis)

She says that many European countries have also gathered around the idea of giving students job specific training at a younger age. I am not sure though, should we jump on the bandwagon because other countries around the world have done so? I do agree with her idea of using technology to raise students proficiency in the basics. The early on career training is a good thought but I don’t feel it gives a student any options for change. I switched my choice for a career many times since Middle School, It even took me a year into college to finally decide what I wanted to do. No I do not feel that No Child Left Behind is doing a good enough job preparing students for the future but I do not feel that early career training is great either. I just hope our new President can fix all of this.

Lewis, Anne. “Climb Out of the Five-and-Dime Hole.” Washington Commentary

Vol 90 Issue 3. Nov 2008 p155-156. 1 Dec 2008

With No Child Left Behind at the reigns, school districts focus a lot of their time and funding into the groups of students that are not yet proficient. Well then what happens to all of the gifted students? Essentially if a gifted student cannot get ahead then he/she feels like she is behind, or simply bored. This is the problem that Dawn M. Viggiano addresses in her article, “No Child Gets Ahead: The Irony Of The No Child Left Behind Act.” Dawn states that “NCLB focuses on the bottom students, so to abide by the law and avoid the harsh consequences, schools are reallocating resources from gifted students’ programs to programs focused on the bottom students.” (Viggiano) Gifted programs are no longer viewed as needed instead they are seen as a luxury. Schools are backing away from the needs of gifted students but they would prefer if these students did not leave there school. I mean we all know the gifted students act as buffers come test day for those who will not do so well. If a gifted student scores high on the test it gives a little more leeway for those who are not so gifted. Instead of putting money into gifted programs, schools are now taking gifted students out of class for a half of day to give them extra instructions, this is not enough.

A comparison is made of gifted students to that of a cheetah. If a cheetah is forced into a cage at a zoo it will become dull and become weary. This is the same with a gifted student in a regular classroom. If you don’t give the student freedom to exercise their minds they will become dull as well, they will never reach there full potential. The law is No Child Left Behind but in many cases gifted students are being left behind. These students will someday be our doctors and lawyers, shouldn’t we put a little money into helping them grow as well?

Viggiano, Dawn. “No Child Gets Ahead: The Irony Of The No Child Left

Behind Act.” Cap Univ Law Rev Win 2005 1 Dec 2008

I have grown up my whole life on a golf course so the title of Jack Mckay’s article appealed to me. The name of his article is “Playing Golf Under Education Accountability Rules.” The article is basically a mockery of No Child Left Behinds accountability system. The idea is that we create a round score, lets say a 90. If you shoot less than a 90 then you will not be considered an adequate golfer. To test your potential one tournament would be held each year and your instructors would prepare you for the tournament (good old standardized testing), “with the expectation all golfers had the same potential, physical makeup, and aptitude, the handicapping system would be eliminated. No matter where the less-able golfer played–from the exclusive country club course to the urban, par three theme park–or the equipment used, every golfer would be considered the same on the tournament day.”(Mckay) If a golfer failed to meet or break the 90 mark for a round of 18 the course would be considered a failing course. Professional golfers would be forced to come to the course and hold lessons on driving, chipping, and force the golfers to watch DVD’s that might help them improve their scores. This of course would all be paid for by the course itself.

Now eventually some courses will catch on that not all golfers will meet this set score and will encourage their golfers to switch courses, sell their clubs, of even move on to a new sport. This is all in hope that the course will get better ratings next year. Other courses will encourage their golfers to cheat, maybe take a mulligan here and there. Well hopefully by the year 2014 many courses will be able to look out and say we our proficient even though many golfers had quit and others now have a profound hatred for the sport.

I just found this article to be very amusing. It just shows how much of a joke the whole idea of NCLB really is. I hope you go on to read this article and have just as good of laugh as I did. Most students have a love hate relationship with learning, this is how many golfers feel as well, love getting pars but occasionally through there clubs into the woods after a bad shot. No Child Left Behind is making both teachers and students to want to just through their clubs into the woods.

Mckay, Jak. “Playing golf under educational accountability rules.” School

Administrator 65.1Jan 2008 30 Nov 2008

The problem is not that the school is failing to improve. It is improving! The problem is not that the teachers are ineffective. They are effective! The problem is not that the school administrators fail to use data to make informed decisions about curriculum and instruction or that they fail to monitor results. They do! The problem is not with our school. The problem is that NCLB is flawed in how it measures success and failure. (It’s Year Five, and We’re Still Not Making Adequate Progress)

These are the words of Edward Westervelt superintendent of Red Bank Regional High School in New Jersey. When the school district seemed to be improving No Child Left Behind labeled them “in need of improvement.” The system doesn’t take in to consideration the situation that they have at Red Bank Regional. The school has over 20 students in every category measured by NCLB. What does this mean for the school? The school has a large percentage of special education and ELL students. The percentage of minority students at the school reaches up to 25%.

“Improving the test scores of these students takes time and much effort,” Westervelt states.

The school has done everything possible to try to meet the standards for the up coming year. They put in 14 new AP courses, they created an Academy of Information Technology, they “revamped instruction” for all ELL students, a freshman academy was built, and finally teachers were sent to summer workshops and all given laptops. Will all of this help the school reach the standards? Think about the price that was spent, and the redirection of the school’s resources.

The problem here is that according to results the school is improving, but obviously not fast enough according to No Child Left Behind. 307 students took AP tests and over 70% of them got scores of 3 or better. It doesn’t make since to me. With scores like these why should the school through all their budget at increasing the scores? This is just one school in one district. Step back and think about how the rest of the U.S is doing. I’m sure some of the schools are fine, but many others are just like Red Bank Regional, struggling trying to win in a system that is flawed.

Westervelt, Edward. “It’s Year Five, and We’re Still Not Making Adequate

Progress.” School Administrator 65(2008): 46-7.

A few weeks ago I dreadfully drove to Grand Rapids to go to a lecture for my English class. I assumed that like most lectures that it would be boring. I figured I would bide my time in my own thoughts while some man went on in a monotone voice. This was not the case with Stephen Greenblatt’s lecture on Cultural Mobility.

The topic of cultural mobility was one that I was not familiar with. Never before had I thought that literature would change between cultures. I assumed that when a text was written it was final. I know text is suppose to be ambiguous. I feel that is the point of a text, to be looked at from many perspectives. I didn’t think that the text would actually be changed to meet these perspectives.

Greenblatt started off by giving us background information on his play Cardenio. Since it is considered a lost play of Shakespeare many have not heard of it. He portrayed the characters as stick figures and began to tell the story in a humorous way. After we all had a grasp on Cardenio he told us of its production and how it was being changed from country to country. This is what he had meant about Cultural Mobility. His play was being rewritten to meet the cultural ideologies of other countries. When Greenblatt traveled to Japan he was met with a version of his play called “Motorcycle Don Quixote.” This version was transformed by the Japanese to mock their view of American’s. When going to India the focus of the play turned towards arranged marriages. In the Spanish version Greenblatt was met with a new character in the play called ironically Greenblatt. The Spanish used this character to mock the American Professor. Greenblatt just laughed and went along with it. This is what he wanted to happen, this was cultural mobility.

I was impressed with the lecture and am now inspired to read the play for myself. I want to see what different insights I will gather from it. Not only that I went out and bought his book “Will In The World.” I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet but hopefully will have time soon.

These days, “I’m no longer making relationships,” with students. “They are just little bodies I need to get assessed on the test.” These are the words of Tracy Dragos a fourth grade teacher from Irving Elementary. Dragos argues that No Child Left Behind is the reason why past students are no longer coming back to her class in the article Testing the Joy Out of Education. Before the focus fell on testing Dragos could create relationships and bonds with her students. Now her students are just bodies that she must prepare for a test. The programs and classes that once seemed interesting to students have become boring. The worst thing is that teachers can’t do much about it. They keep being pushed by the government and their administration to meet the standards set by the No Child Left Behind law. Teachers have become helpless and frustrated. Robin Miller from the Teacher’s Federation at Hammond states that, “We have good programs in the school. But we don’t have time to do them any justice. Everyday it feels like we’re going to war.” So this is what school has finally come down to, war. What kind of war is being fought here though? Is it teachers versus students, students versus tests, or the school versus the government. This now hostile environment is no longer a safe haven for students. I still go back and visit many of my teachers, but this could be because I made it through most of my school years No Child Left Behind free. The teachers that I do continue to visit encouraged me, inspired me, we built a relationship. I don’t think this would have been the same way if my studies were always being pushed towards a test. I would have felt anger towards the teachers even though they couldn’t do anything about it.

The government is trying to put a bandaid over it, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Dee Jones a former PTA president says that, “lawmakers and regulators who “are testing the joy out of education” while promoting remedies, such as supplemental services offered by vendors “like the online tutor that gives you a computer but no way to connect to the Internet.”(Testing the Joy out of Education) The bandaids are not working, and kids still seem to be unhappy. I just hope that something changes before I hit the school system. I would perfer to be creative in my teaching, not just teach for a test. Teachers need to make an impact, students should be returning to their favorite classes.

Let us again discuss the problematic issues surrounding the law No Child Left Behind. I want to focus on an article written by Alex Davidson titled “NCLB R.I.P.” The article is primarily about No Child Left Behind’s inevitable demise. It’s downfall will happen because of the wrongful doings being done to help school districts maintain good results. Davidson stated that,

“To raise their scores, some schools discouraged low-performing and special needs kids from showing up on test days. More problematic, the bill allowed states to set their own standards, so some states were quick to lower them to avoid penalties. Alabama categorizes all of its districts as passing–which moved its place in one national ranking from 22nd to 5th last year. This even though only 40% of Birmingham students graduate from high school on time.”

No Child Left Behind is suppose to raise results of all school districts instead all it is doing is lowering the standards of the states. If states like Alabama are allowed to lower there standards then they are easily able to pass the standards and not be penalized. The idea of not allowing students with disabilities to participate because they might lower the results is ridiculous. I thought it was No Child Left Behind, instead it has turned into Some Children May Be Left Behind because districts are scared that they might not meet the standards and therefor be penalized by the Government.

It is sad that this law falls back on embarrassing school district’s that do not meet the standards. The Feds are willing to post the results and embarrass any district not reaching the correct potential, but are not willing to give enough money to help schools succeed. The money given to the states has dropped 12% since the law began. Without a sufficient source of money it is hard for all school districts to make sure every student reaches the standards. These are just a few reason why I believe Davidson and his article are correct that the demise of the law is soon to come and lets hope it does R.I.P and never returns.

NCLB R.I.P

By: Alex Davidson

Vol. 182, Issue 4, 9/15/2008

Database used: Academic Search Premier

I went off on a tangent in my first post on the subject of going green. I now want to get on with the real topic that my blog will focus on. I want to discuss No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and it’s many problems. This post I want to comment on an article written by Sarah J McCarthey. Her article posted in Written Communications magazine is titled “The Impact of No Child Left Behind on Teachers’ Writing Instruction.” She writes “Although No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has focused attention on improving reading and math achievement, little attention has been given to other subjects including writing. If state or local polocies do not support the teaching of writing, there is the possibility that teachers will neglect writing instruction.” This statement is the bases behind her article. She compares the writing assessments of both High and Low income school districts.

McCarthey argues that since there is a Reading First priority many students are not getting proper writing instruction. No Child Left Behind gives some funds based on schools that provide “scientifically-proven instructional and assessment tools.” This means that many teachers are not focusing on teaching adequate writing instructions in their language arts classes. When writing is taught it is “found that implementation has resulted in a view of writing as a rigid sequence prewriting, writing, and revision.” This sequence has started to eliminate “personal voice” in the students writing. Students are required to follow the standards and rules that are set by the state. These standards are also limiting the creativity of the teachers, not totally eliminating it but difinately limiting it.

I feel that through (NCLB) the state should provide more money to the schools for writing. The focus should not be all on reading. Language Art classes should be able to split their time between both reading and writing. This is only one fault I find in the No Child Left Behind system, and I will show more faults in the posts to come.

Sarah J McCarthey

“The Impact of No Child Left Behind on Teacher’s Writing Instruction”

Written Communications 2008; 25; 462 originally published online Aug 7

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