Congressman Mark Souder's staffers called yesterday seeking three school district representatives to attend a meeting discussing the No Child Left Behind re authorization.
Here are a few talking points that we intend to share:
1. NCLB was a noble idea. (But...do all noble ideas make good laws?)
2. Schools should be accountable for the growth of their students but that accountability should take into consideration where the students are performing before the teachers receive them. In others words, move the accountability system to a growth model but still report the percentages of students meeting overall proficiency.
3. Someone at the federal decision-making level needs to spend some time IN the classrooms of today and see if this level of "accountability" is worth it. This is a hugely important national discussion. It is easy to chart changes in the test scores and call it "improvement." It's not so easy to chart what is NOT being taught now. A recent commenter mentioned the difference between teaching rote history dates versus teaching/discussing/debating sociological changes.) Well, guess which one will be taught if it's "on the test?"
4. How fair is it to hold an entire school's reputation (under current NCLB rules) based on the performance of a sub population of 12 students? This is what is happening now.
5. Special Education students have been doing well considering the circumstances. But some changes in the testing expectations for some types of students in this population HAVE to be considered.
So....what would YOU respectfully tell the Congressman if you had the chance?
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