The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NCLB Critics

Susan Ohanian is a writer and outspoken critic of No Child Left Behind. The Tennessean recently posted an article describing a few of her views and then posted forum responses. The actual newspaper post is linked by clicking on the title.

I found the diversity in views on NCLB to be fascinating.

Here is one forum response from a teacher:

I am a 5th grade reading teacher at a Title 1 school. 78% of our student body is on free/reduced lunch. Our students come from public housing and two low income trailer parks. It is not unusual for our students to have one or both parents in jail or on drugs. In addition, in my class are a number of hispanic students who speak NO English.(they will be required to take the same exam as the other students in the spring-and their scores will count against our school) Also, we employ a family resource person at our school whose primary job is to proved clothing and school supplies for our students. Yes, school supplies- our students are sent to school at the beginning of the year without notebooks, paper, pencils, etc. The school through donations provides them. After my "school day" ends, I stay(along with 4 other teachers) until 4:45 helping students do the homework I have assigned-after we have provided a snack. This is a free service. I feel certain that a majority of adults in this state including those who have posted on this site could not test proficient on the reading portion of the 5th grade TCAP. Could you correctly identify the implied theme of a passage? Could you identify a metaphor, hyperbole, personification... or author's implied reason for writing or intended audience? When is the last time you had to approach a poem analytically? How are your sentence combining skills? Could you correctly place the semi-colon or subordinate conjugation in two independent clauses? How is your writing? In Feb. our students take an expository writing exam. They are given a "prompt"..."imagine you are a rain drop..describe your day"..and are to write 45 mins..demonstrating correct mechanics, expressive and vivid vocabulary along with great imagination... People who are so quick to criticize schools and educators have NO IDEA what goes on inside those buildings or what a standardized test expects of our students. In closing, the problem is not in our schools. The problem is at home. There are too many parents who do not parent (did I mention that we provide parenting classes). They can barely meet the basic needs of their children. They are sent to school with too many adult and worldly things on their young minds ( the police got my daddy/mama last night, older sibling providing the caretaking for the younger, we don't have any lights..our electricity is off),etc..... Interestingly enough, there is NO PARENTAL accountability in NCLB...NONE . The schools are not failing..the family has failed...and until that is addressed all the legislation, testing , and finger pointing in the world is not going to fix the real problem.


Anonymous said...

What a powerful story. This teacher has a good perception of why we struggle so much in the classroom. Wouldn't it be great if we could invite the president and others into our classrooms for a day or two to see what the issues are.

Anonymous said...

I would love for the people making our laws to come in and see what they are deciding for us. What a great idea.

Anonymous said...

wow...that is so very true! I'm glad that someone finally said it. Too bad our legislators will never see it from their ivory towers..

interesting topic said...

Another forum post by a teacher:

Accountability, accountability, accountability. As a former teacher, I saw incompetence and indifference rewarded with tenure and lifetime job security. I saw indoctrination take precedence over instruction. I saw a system hidebound by bureaucracy and controlled by the NEA. Someone should tell this lady that our schools are already bankrupt. America falls farther and farther behind other developed nations because of failed liberal ideas in education.

In most well run businesses today, the bottom 5% of a company's workforce is replaced by more competent workers. Take a look around town at manufacturing, or the service sectors.

Do companies that had an inefficient workforce exist today?

But in the closed society of the school corp, those nightmare teachers continue to haunt education.

Does NCLB fix this?
Probably not. But what does?