Friday, February 02, 2007

Wasta: Goals of NCLB the issue

I can't believe that the last time I posted was before Christmas! Things seem to be heating up in the NCLB news department. Here is a great story from Bristol Connecticut. A few quotes:

Bristol school Superintendent Michael Wasta is quoted as saying:

"According to No Child Left Behind, by 2014 100 percent of all students will be proficient or higher in reading, writing and mathematics. Is that a worthy mission statement? Absolutely. But as an actual goal for people to meet, with their livelihoods on the line? Ludicrous."

"The special-ed requirements are the ones I feel most strongly about. Membership in that group is defined as being not academically proficient. If you become proficient, you're moved out of that group. So by definition, there's no way the special-ed group can become proficient, and then if they're not proficient the school is penalized."
Some students in special education programs are physically incapable of achieving academic proficiency; for example, a microcephalic child born without a cerebellum can no more learn to read than a child born without legs can become a professional marathon runner.
Does NCLB recognize the existence of such students?
"Yes," said Wasta. "Two percent. It used to be 1 percent, but now the rule is 2 percent. You can identify two percent of your students as belonging to that group ... even if 40 percent of your students were born without a brain, you can only exclude 2 percent. It's ludicrous."

"If you go to the average man on the street and ask him, 'do you think special-ed students should be held to the same standards as regular students,' he'll say 'Of course not. That's stupid.' Anybody can see how unrealistic these NCLB laws are."

"By 2014 the law will be abandoned," said Wasta. "That's my opinion, anyway...

I want to believe he is right.

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