Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NCLB--Working Just Like It's Supposed To

Joanne has a great post up about Napa High School, and how it's a California Distinguished School but is listed as "Needs Improvement" under the No Child Left Behind Act. The school's English Learners, among other groups, aren't improving enough.

Some at the school chafe under the "needs improvement" label. Pay close attention to what the language arts teacher said about reading novels. Joanne, though, knows BS when she comes across it, and hits the nail on the head with her closing statement:

NCLB is working exactly as advertised when it forces schools with good overall scores to look closely at the performance of subgroups, such as English Learners.

I've previously written about a Napa Valley school, here.


Coach Brown said...

Come on.

How can you say that its "working as advertised" when the whole school is going to be turned upside down by missing a single benchmark. Although I agree that it needs to force schools to look at basic performance, but the implementation of NCLB is crap. What about the IEP/No Modification contrary mandates? What about parents being able to sign kids out and take out the participation mandate?

You can honestly justify turning a school upside down, eliminating electives, and reducing funding, because of a single benchmark in a minority population in the school? You can honestly say that this system is effective? We can't address the target group without compromising the rest of the school? "Sorry, I understand that we send kids to prestigious schools and we are successful for kids' academic career, except for one benchmark. I know, let's create a school wide upheaval.

Come on Darren. Your a math teacher. This equation doesn't add up.

I can't believe I just used that phrase.

Darren said...

Do you have a better idea for compelling schools which receive federal money to do what they're supposed to?

allen said...

It's called "making the cut", Coach.

A coach ought to understand all about not being quite good enough to make the varsity team even if you can do well on nine of the ten skills you have to demonstrate to make the team. No number ten? No varsity jacket. Sorry kid. That's the way it goes.

> implementation of NCLB is crap.

Oh gee, do you think?

Knock, knock. Anyone home?

Hey, it's a political compromise like your school's budget. You know how to identify a good political compromise don't you? It's when no one ends up satisfied. Guess what? I'm not satisfied with NCLB either. It's way too accommodating of rotten districts, schools, principals and teachers.

And let us not be too conveniently vague about the requirements of NCLB: schools must meet their own states *minimum* standards.

The standards don't call for kids to be able to free verse in iambic pentameter or replicate the Michelson-Morley experiment with common, household items. They just have to be able to read, write, add, subtract and not all that well. Yet those *minimum* standards are cause for all sorts of tearing of hair and rending of garments now that they mean something. Cue the violins.

If narrowing the curriculum and teaching to the test means that LaQuan is doing the electricals on Steve Jobs' new jet instead of three-to-five for armed robbery you damned betcha the curriculum ought to be narrowed and you better teach to the test. If education is so all-fired important then we ought to be measuring just every little wheeze and hiccup, shouldn't we? How's anyone to know how to make the patient well if you don't know their temperature?

Yeah, I like that. In order to diagnose the patient we need to take the patient's temperature.

Just think of NCLB as a thermometer that's been put where thermometers are put when you won't open your mouth.

Darren said...

There are some parts of NCLB that I'd modify, but if given the choice of eliminating it completely or keeping it as it is, I'd keep it in a heartbeat--upturned schools and all.