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Old 12-26-2008, 08:03 PM
 
3,532 posts, read 6,421,226 times
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In latest NEA Today magazine, it has an article asking the question is NCLB Working?

NCLB stands for No Child Left Behind, and it is a federal law that puts approximately 50 million school children and about 3 million of their teachers under the gun 7 years ago.

This law passed because of the belief that not all kids were getting quality instruction at their local schools, and thus in an attempt to at least make the playing field some what level, this law was passed so that all children would have the same access to the curriculum and basically be taught the same state standards regardless of the child's race, religion, and socio-economic status.

Before I read the article, the first thought that came to my mind was how much progress my school made. The year that this law passed, I transferred from a low performing school district to another one with the same demographics and test scores. The new school's scores I transferred to were in the toilet.

However, I saw my school's test scores improve drastically over the 7 years as a result of NCLB, and saw how from our hard work and significant increase in test scores, we were blessed with the award of California Distinguished School.

But reading the article saddened me because it gave a scientific based answer of NO. The article in a nutshell says that NCLB isn't working because of the fact that school teachers, who mean well and want to see their students achieve, are basing their teaching solely on high stakes state assessment tests. In other words, kids are being taught how to do well on state tests and learning those tests formats in order to score higher.

A study was done on whether or not students are achieving. When students were given an older test that no longer carried high stakes and their teachers didn't prep them for that test, the study found that test scores plummeted. The article stated that while we had four years of rising test scores, that did not reflect real achievement, but just teaching to a new test.

As a teacher with 16 years of experience, who is overwhelmed at times from all of the legislation that affects what I teach to how I teach it to my students, I feel like teachers are in a catch-22 situation. On one had, teachers are damned for trying to teach skills that prepare students for those high stakes tests; but on the other hand also, we are damned for teaching skills that we know that our students could benefit, but are not on high stakes test.

If NCLB isn't working based on the scientific study, then my next question is should NCLB continue to be a mandate? After all, we are investing billions of dollars into public schools and yet the end result is the same. To me that's a form of insanity.
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Lynbrook
517 posts, read 2,484,516 times
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The main problem that I see with NCLB in my school, is that with the influx of students from underperforming districts our scores immediately went down. That would be fine, except that we are given no time to bring up those scores in terms of how we are now rated. The threat of being reorganized due to low test scores, pushes teachers and administrators to falsely inflate grades and focus solely on testing in order to appear that we are performing as well as we were before. Which means that instead of acknowledging that NCLB will cause some schools to initially dip and allowing a learning curve based on our previously good record, we are now performing less well in order to appear to be doing better. Ironic, considering that those students came to our school to get a better education, but actually are bringing about the same thing they tried to get away from. Sad.
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenBo View Post
The main problem that I see with NCLB in my school, is that with the influx of students from underperforming districts our scores immediately went down. That would be fine, except that we are given no time to bring up those scores in terms of how we are now rated. The threat of being reorganized due to low test scores, pushes teachers and administrators to falsely inflate grades and focus solely on testing in order to appear that we are performing as well as we were before. Which means that instead of acknowledging that NCLB will cause some schools to initially dip and allowing a learning curve based on our previously good record, we are now performing less well in order to appear to be doing better. Ironic, considering that those students came to our school to get a better education, but actually are bringing about the same thing they tried to get away from. Sad.
Karen you make a very interesting point. What I discovered after my school district strongly suggested that we let the data drive our instruction after we give quarterly district benchmark assessments was that in order to be a high achieving school, only approximately 70% of my students need to be proficient. Here in CA we have API scores and our goal is to become a state where all of our schools are 800 API schools.

The problem with that is when you look at schools that are 800 or above, you discover that it's only approximately 70% of their kids, and for some strange reason people become excited or happy when their school reaches that number. I know for me, my individual classroom API was 811 but out of 34 kids, it was only 23 of my students who scored either proficient or advanced on that CST. I wasn't happy that 11 of my students still weren't where they needed to be.
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:32 PM
 
Location: southern california
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discipline is a factor in education. we took that away from public schools. bek of that they are failing. its not going great at home either.
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Um, no. NCLB is good in theory, but horrible in practice.
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Old 12-27-2008, 04:02 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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What jessiegirl said.
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Old 12-27-2008, 04:34 AM
 
Location: Southwestern Ohio
4,112 posts, read 6,517,647 times
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NCLB is a dismal failure. My daughter graduated high school in '07(if I;m not mistaken her senior year would have been the first full school year under NCLB). She and her boyfriend both agreed that their classes were "dumbed down" in order to pass more students... sad..
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Lexington Ky
891 posts, read 3,052,115 times
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I nicknamed NCLB "the dumbing down of America". All the impetus is on getting the lower performing students up to an acceptable level. This leaves the teacher little or no time to give to kids that are high achievers needing to be challenged more. So the kids that are left behind are the ones that are capable of the most. We leave them languishing until they get bored to tears and then if we're lucky we transfer them to a G/T magnet. I don't know what parents do that don't have that option.
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:53 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 61,282,830 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessiegirl_98 View Post
Um, no. NCLB is good in theory, but horrible in practice.
Exactly!

Here is one example of how it is "working". Our kids' middle school was put on the 'watch' list this year. 97% of the kids passed the state testing last year, 96% passed this year. They were put on the watch list for failing to make 'progress". If you take out the special needs kids that number jumps to 99%. In contrast one of the inner city schools had scores of 43% passing last year and 45% passing this year and they won an award for outstanding progress in test scores. Ok, they improved but come on, tell my my kids' school is failing. If they score less then 96% next year the could lose federal funding because they are 'underperforming'. Give me a break. This is one of the best school districts in the NATION but because of the standards for NCLB they are "failing".
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Old 12-27-2008, 07:28 AM
 
2,195 posts, read 3,638,668 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessiegirl_98 View Post
Um, no. NCLB is good in theory, but horrible in practice.
I'd actually argue that it is not good in theory, either.

The entire notion that high stakes testing would increase performance in our schools without increasing drop out rates was predicated on falsified data.

NCLB pretty much works exactly the way a full consideration of the theory would suggest that it would, and had Houston's real information been available, I doubt it would ever have been proposed, or passed if proposed.

It's just hard to get Congress to say "we screwed up."
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