Saturday, January 15, 2005

More thoughts on Why I Detest NCLB

And who gets all the blame? The teachers. If you pay attention you hear it over and over again. "It's the teachers." "They're not well trained." (OK, so the teacher schools share the blame.) "Our schools (and therefore teachers) are failing our students." OK again, the boards of education are taking a fair bit of the blame as well. You see the idea is to get all education out of local hands. Well the idea is more than that. The idea is to get government out of the business of education. Just look: Public school teachers must be highly qualified. Private school teachers do not and in many places do not even have to be state certified! Even a Teach for America volunteer, who might be teaching, does not need to be highly qualified!

The line for years from the right has been "throwing dollars at the problem is not the answer." It's not?! How do you fix dilapidated out moded buildings! Money. What is a proven strategy to improve student learning? Smaller class sizes. How do you get them? Money. How do you get and keep the best and the brightest in the classroom. Pay a decent wage, a wage comparable to other jobs with as much responsibility and education. How do you do that? Money. Money is exactly what it takes. Of course it takes more, but it takes investment dollars to make things work. And they know it!

They use money to promote NCLB: Armstrong Williams’ services were procured by written contract – an innovation in the political payola trade – which stipulated that "Mr. Williams shall utilize his long-term working relationships with 'America's Black Forum'…to encourage the producers to periodically address the No Child Left Behind Act [NCLB]," according to the New York Times. In return for $240,000 in public funds, laundered as “advertising” fees, the contract required Williams to “regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts" on his own TV show, The Right Side, and that "Secretary Paige and other department officials shall have the option of appearing from time to time as studio guests." Williams had no trouble arranging for Paige to appear on America’s Black Forum, as well – a freebie for the big-spending Bush crew. (from The Black Commentator) Then I heard on the radio just yesterday that Rod Paige said he is looking into it. Looking into it! He was part of it!

The Washinton Post reports that Bush and company have given "...
$77 million in U.S. Department of Education funds to promote their "school privatization" agenda." You can't just throw money at it? It seems you can.

In Virginia: Former education secretary Bill Bennett's
unproven on-line school (with non-highly qualified teachers) "...K12 will be paid a fixed amount by the district for each full-time student in the program. Costs will range from $1,644 for each kindergarten through second-grade student to $1,769 for third through eighth grade. The cost will be covered by the $101,709 grant the district received from the U.S. Department of Education..."

Susan Ohanian reports that Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
2003-10-14, said that the Arkansas Virtual Academy "..which has students from all over the state, began last year with the help of a $2.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Voluntary Public School Choice Program." And on, and on, and on... I guess it all about what you want to spend your money on. Gotta go. Be back soon.

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