Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Money, time and blame cited as NCLB problems --


These folks have the right idea:

RAMAPO — Rockland educators, parents and officials know what should be done to fix the federal law dubbed "No Child Left Behind" — tone down the blame, increase the money and give schools and teachers more time to strengthen programs that help children achieve...

Yesterday's conference was designed to look at the law's effects on Rockland families and schools. The information gleaned from its workshops and discussions will be sent to state and national politicians, said Harriet Cornell, chairwoman of the Rockland County Legislature, who along with RCC President Clifford Wood, co-chaired the event...

Former New York Education Commissioner Thomas Sobol listed 11 assumptions the federal education law dubbed "No Child Left Behind" makes and nine suggestions on ways to improve it. Here are some of those points

ASSUMPTIONS: The public schools are failing and only government intervention can save them. That schools do not know who the failing students are. That defining students will change instruction. That producing results is a matter of will. That what is being taught now is what should be taught forever. That there's a relation between standards and tests. That good test scores mean good education. That objectives can be measured on a yearly basis. That the present way schools are organized is the right way and will not change. That whatever the problem, the schools alone can fix it. That all that counts in education is academic achievement.

SUGGESTIONS: Limit standards to a tight central core: don't expand them to every subject. Write (or rewrite) the standards to demonstrate depth, not just breadth. Assess academic progress in multiple ways, not base progress on a single test. Reduce the amount of testing by melding tests — test English and social studies together, for instance. Allow districts flexibility to adjust for individual, unusual and complex situations that affect them. Expand the definition of accountability — make government as accountable to the schools as schools are to government. Fund it adequately. Provide time and support to develop programs. Remember the rest of the agenda — education is more than just test-taking.

Listen up Washington, America is speaking

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