Hurry up, Mr. President!

Doug sits down with the Santee School Superintendent Patrick Shaw, and he had a lot to say about "No Child Left Behind."

During his State of the Union speech last month, said he felt some changes needed to be made in the “No Child Left Behind”  education program for America’s school children.

After an afternoon chat with Santee Schools Superintendent , I came to one conclusion-

The President can’t move fast enough.

“No Child Left Behind” doesn’t just need revision- it probably needs to go away.

Dr. Shaw is clear that the ultimate goal of  NCLB is a good one- it works toward making sure that every child achieves the absolute maximum possible in school.

We can all agree with that part.

The problem comes in when you realize that we’re dealing with people here- not statistics.

“Teaching to the test is not in itself a bad thing” says Dr. Shaw, referring to the annual test kids have to take.

“The problem is that the state and Federal standards are way too high, and getting higher and more difficult every year. Even though Santee’s schools are ALL above the cutoff line of 800 points, one of the local schools has already been forced into a performance increase status... meaning the Feds are saying they’re not good enough. That means, in this case one of the school’s subgroups- the way the Feds make the schools separate out the various ethnic and socio-economic groups in the school- didn’t increase its scores as much as the regulations say they should have. So, the school gets punished.”

And here’s the icing on this half-baked cake: Next year, when the school will be reevaluated, the standards it has to meet will be even higher.

It’s truly a no-win situation- no matter how hard you try, the system is set up so that it’ll NEVER be good enough to satisfy the educational bureaucracies at the state and Federal levels.

Another thing that’ll make your head spin- a school , or a district, may very well meet the state standards for educating your kids- and yet still fall short of the federal standards for the same school, and the same kids.

And finally, to put a cherry atop the iced, half-baked cake: The standards California has to meet bear no relationship at all to the standards for, say, North Carolina, or Texas or Vermont.

This is the restrictive straitjacket in which teachers are trying to teach your children.

Nothing is more important than THE TEST.

Stifled are teachers who like to think outside the box- teachers who might have an alternative means of getting through to students when the accepted ways haven’t made a dent.

This, to put it kindly, is a mess.

The President is absolutely correct when he says this stuff has to change.

But maybe even he doesn’t fully understand how much it has to change- or how quickly it has to change.

I’m not through with this topic yet- more, including possible fixes- next time.

Kathy February 23, 2011 at 04:50 AM
The problem is that California ranks almost at the bottom in test scores compared to the rest of the United States. The problem is that Southern California is faced with a increasing population of illegal immigrants and their children, causing an over crowding in our school system. The public schools are NOT allowed to ask if a child is a U.S. citizen or documented immigrant prior to enrolling into our schools. There are thousands of illegal immigrants currently enrolled in our U.S. schools. This means these children are using resources, that should be used on children who are natural or documented. I have heard many teachers complain that majority of undocumented children do not speak, read or write English, and they require additional time from teachers. Therefore, the students there legally, are losing education time. Unless the statement, "No Child Should Be Left Behind" referred to anyone, even the children here illegally, we need to find a way to prevent these children from entering our school system. The teachers already have crowded classrooms, and removing the children that should not be there, would allow the teachers a better opportunity to give quality education to the children, who should be there. Teachers are and have always been under paid and I doubt anyone who is a teacher, does so, just to have a job. If we are going to hold the teachers accountable, then we need to be also accountable, for making sure the students are there legally.
Janalee Shelton February 23, 2011 at 10:07 PM
I agree 100%.....resources to those who they are intended for!!
Mary March 01, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Mary If teacher performance is judged on their students meeting or exceeding the standards, I would like to see someone other than the teacher give the tests. How many times does the student get to take the same test before they FAIL? I for one am glad the standards are getting harder to meet. We cannot catch up with other countries if we don't expect our children to do much better than the averages/standards that currently exist. We need to start holding back children that don't meet educational requirements. To pass them to the next grade defeats the purpose of having standards. Behaviour issues, starting in Kindergarten, in our Santee schools cause valuable teaching time to be lost. Parents indifference to their children distracting others, or not keeping up with expected standards, or believing "THEY ARE JUST CHILDREN" so they shouldn't have to behave the entire time they are at school is inconceivable. How can we expect caring students to excel when other children in the classroom are constantly talking out loud, interrupting the teachers, walking around or are allowed to not keep-up?


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