Saturday, April 22, 2006

Is NCLB Institutionalized Malpractice?

How would you feel if your doctor's professional journals were filled with monthly critiques of a therapy being used on millions of patients a year that not only wasn't effective but was observed to be harmful?

Would you think it constituted malpractice, needless harm to innocents, or malicious behavior?

Consider that America's teachers and their unions know, write about, and complain about the No Child Left Behind Act with grave concerns.

Consider this article in the Teacher's Union magazine, NEA Today. It celebrates Homerisms such as; "Every Child Can Learn" and "A Better Deal for Homeless Students", yet it lists nine ways NCLB hurts, that's right hurts students. These nine observations are non-trivial; "Testing crowds out learning", "One Size Does Not Fit All", "Educators get blamed for problems they can’t control", "More Teaching to the Test, Less Teaching for Understanding", "If it’s not on the test, kiss it good-bye", "Impossible Mandates", "Schools have an incentive to push out low-scoring students", and a few others (some dubious).

In America, with all its diversity and celebration of the individual, how did the country get sold such a sack of educational nonsense? And why are teachers who are supposed to be professionals practice bad education? Would they accept their doctors practicing bad medicine because George Bush's latest conversation with God said it was okay? I have a very hard time with this. Must every child in America really have to conform to the Bush administration's idea of a perfect fifth grader or ninth grader or high school graduate?

As a Board of Education member, I find the science and math of NCLB to be pure fabulism yet millions of tax dollars are thrown away on testing advocated by special interests in the testing business. And for all the so-called data gathered, how much is actually useful? Very little from what I can see. In my profession, software engineering we would call it, "Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO)".

Rating NCLB
NEA members say it’s hurting more than helping.
Edited by Alain Jehlen

"Wish you had a dollar for every hour one of your students spends filling in test bubbles instead of experimenting with magnets or reading the latest Junie B. book? Cheryl Chapman must give her second-graders in DuPage County, Illinois, a constant stream of standardized tests.

“I give them a week’s worth of tests every six weeks in language arts,” Chapman wrote in an e-mail. “Our lit program is so highly scripted, a second-grader could teach it. I’ve let them at times. I use it because I have to, but I supplement like crazy.”

Chapman administers another language arts test three times per year, plus several kinds of math tests. “All kids are supposed to graph their progress on the computer, even first-graders,” says Chapman. “Our administrators think the graphing will make the kids more motivated, but I haven’t seen the research to support this. It’s just a big stress-out.”

The results are supposed to provide insight into what kids have mastered and where they need help, but Chapman says they don’t add “any information I don’t already know if I just teach it.”

Recently, Chapman’s husband asked her why she planned to retire early, at age 60—after all, she loves teaching. She answered that she no longer sees what she does as teaching. “My job is to protect my students from the local repercussions of this Administration’s educational policies,” she says. “I wish Americans would wake up and see that these policies create little stressed-out robots, not thinking, creative, smart kids.”"

This teacher isn't the only one who thinks this is a BIG PROBLEM. Since when is robbing children of their individuality a good thing? If teachers actually read their professional journals why is NCLB still in practice? I don't get it.

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