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Stunned! Is this going on where you live? - Page 5

post #81 of 110
My IL's are recently retired, life-long PS educators. FIL was a high school teacher and dean, MIL taught elementary. They LOVED being teachers. Through it all. Until NCLB. They've only just retired, and are so happy they were able to. For the first time in their lives, they are advising friends NOT to go into teaching.

That should tell you something.

And fwiw, they taught in a relatively affluent area with great test scores.
post #82 of 110
Some people are saying these tests are too easy, and are encouraging mediocrity...and some are saying they are so hard, the kids' parents can't even pass. Are they different in different states?
post #83 of 110
Most states already have their own standardized tests that students take to meet state standards. I'm pretty sure that under NCLB, the states just use the tests they're already using, but the feds put a different spin on how the data is processed. I know that in Virginia, the state SOL tests determine whether or not a school meets Adequate Yearly Progress goals.
post #84 of 110
The tests under NCLB are COMPLETELY different in my state. The government has decided what it is important for kids to know, and has designed a test that is written and formatted unlike any other test students have taken up to now (and spent 10 million on it!!!). I don't teach to the test ('cuz I'm just like that, and because I have highly adaptable students), but I have to say that if we don't review at least the format of the test all students are screwed.

So teachers are in an impossible position. The curriculum here has also been divided into three categories: totally important, pretty important and get to it if you have time (not the actual labels, but I forget them!!!). The totally important stuff is useless crap like the parts of speech, and the get to it if you have time stuff is analyzing a writer's message (WTF!!). The curriculum has also been standardized to such an extreme that teachers are forced to use textbooks almost 100% of the time, which goes against everything I ever learned about human development and effective teaching (and I don't do, b/c I teach gifted students, so apparently gifted students get to have a thought-provoking education, whereas regular-ed students get to become automatons). Some schools are so precise that every math teacher needs to be on the same page on the same day doing the same problem, and administrators walk around checking that it is so.

I am seriously considering leaving teaching; I can't take this stuff anymore, and it has only been 2 years. Mark my words, though; NCLB is only gearing up. We are going to have a severe teacher shortage, and tons of public school closures in the next five years, so save your pennies for private school, or to make up for homeschooling.
post #85 of 110
I am also afraid of what NCLB might mean for my child and our community. We live between two families of retired ps teachers who have nothing but contempt for NCLB's emphasis on a) teaching to the test and b) punishing schools that have underperforming kids. I think the fact that many states are considering opting out of NCLB despite tremendous budgetary difficulties speaks volumes.

And to the earlier poster that John Kerry also supports NCLB, I believe he has stated that he thinks both of the above ideas are nuts, and supports reform of NCLB. He has a National Education Trust Fund plan to guarantee funding for primary schools so it can't become a casualty of budget negotiations as in the past; I think that would be a good start.
post #86 of 110
[QUOTE=chicagomom]
And to the earlier poster that John Kerry also supports NCLB, I believe he has stated that he thinks both of the above ideas are nuts, and supports reform of NCLB. QUOTE]

Nope, John Kerry VOTED for NCLB and SUPPORTED it along with Bush.

He might not support it now (how convient for him) but he sure voted for it and supported it....just like he voted in favor of the war, etc. and now doesn't support it, he cracks me up. It scares me how he votes all these things then later on changes his mind when he sees they are a bad idea, am I the only Democrat who see's this (I sometimes wonder...)?

Chicagomom that was not in any way directed at you, it's just something I see way to often with Kerry supporters in general (I don't support Kerry or Bush and am not sure who I am going to vote for honestly).

Marilyn
post #87 of 110
I don't buy into the whole 'flip-flop' thing for either candidate - I think policy making is complex business, circumstances change, and bi-partisanship is something I want to encourage in my lawmakers. I don't think it's a good idea for anyone to 'stay the course' no matter what later evidence reveals.

For Kerry, I think the proof is in the pudding, as they say. I think a lot of people, including Kerry, were enthusiastically behind NCLB and have been changing their tune when a) funding was less than the original proposals, and b) programs that make it up keep getting dropped. I do like the proposals I hear from his camp, though, esp. raising teachers salaries, increasing Pell Grants and providing funds for college in exchange for public service.

Assessment of schools, teachers and students, and setting standards are not bad things. I think NCLB had noble beginnings, but got lost on the way.
post #88 of 110
My students are getting ready to take some of their mandated tests this week (which will take five mornings, and they will have 2-1/2 hours of regular classes in the afternoon). I was actually told, point blank, that all of the regular class time this week should be spent reviewing for the test. But here's the clincher: we were told that they wanted student scores to improve, but not improve too much. If they get too good at the tests, it becomes impossible to make adequate yearly progress toward the goals (which are unattainable).

Welome to mediocrity, America!
post #89 of 110
That reminds me of the changes my pre-baby job made during their 'business process reengineering' phase. Workers at the call center were encouraged to improve call times, but not 'too much', for the same reason. Just enough to get the raise. I thought it was a boneheaded idea then, too.

I have noticed a lot of business pseudo-speak on the Hill lately (via c-span), makes me want to puke. The other day they were talking about terrorists as being 'entrepreneurial'. ?!

Maybe for real change in education they should go look at *really* successful businesses - the ones that have high employee retention, get the trust of their employees, etc, like greatplacetowork.com. But I guess that's the crux of the problem: different definition of 'success'.
post #90 of 110

Advisory Council warned our private school that we should...

expect higher numbers of applicants to our school because of families seeking to escape NCLB.

Our school hired an outside advisory council to determine what we as a private Waldorf school could expect for the next 20 years. One of the things that was cited in the report was the effect of NCLB and specifically the WASL test here in Washington state. The report stated that just like forced busing caused many families to leave public schools, NCLB would also cause many families to leave public schools. Often parents point to the testing in public schools as a reason for seeking out a private school education. They said we could also expect to see lots of desperate parents applying for middle school for their children. It has the potential to help and hurt our school. Help as getting a large applicant pool but it may hurt if a families are not really into Waldorf and are only looking for a way out of public schools. A bad fit can be devastating to the family, the child and all the other families and children in the class.
post #91 of 110
http://www.fairtest.org/Failing_Our_...en_Report.html

This report from fairtest.com came across my desk today...interesting.
post #92 of 110
Magnolia and other NJ moms.....I currently teach in NJ in a non Abbott district but I previously taught in two different Abbott districts in Monmouth county ( one of which spends more than 15000 per student and STILL has the lowest scores in the county). The reasons I left were EXACTLY some of the reasons Magnolia states...Abbott districts are forced to choose an educational program. Both districts I worked for used SFA (success for all) which is extremely retrictive for teachers (the trainer called it 'teacher proof') and actually has a TEACHER SCRIPT with what you are supposed to SAY each day, each lesson. Sooooo what did I go to school for an educational degree for?????I should have taken drama instead so I can learn my lines quickly and effeciantly. AW it is part of the reason I left the district even though I loved teaching the children of the district. I now am in the district where the teachers were jailed for striking and things are better in that I have more academic freedom. I teach middle school so our challenge with No Child Left Behind is unique because a lot of middle school teachers hold k-8 certificates and are not certified in a specific subject, but may have taught themselves the subject matter and have wonderful teaching styles and methods and UNDERSTANDING of middle school age children (which with this particular age group is key). With NCLB you have to be certified in your subject (special ed also which is another HUGE thing) for middle school or the district will send home a letter to the parents saying "your child is being taught by a teacher who is not 'highly qualified'. Well I know of a science teacher who has been teaching 16+ years on the middle school level and 23 years total, is a great teacher,(used as a mentor for new teachers) innovative, patient and loves teaching this age group (those of you with middle schoolers know what I mean) but still had trouble qualifying due to her k-8 certificate. Very frustrating!!!! In NJ you have the NCLB PLUS the existing political educational problems.....
post #93 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzannah
I don't teach to the test ('cuz I'm just like that, and because I have highly adaptable students), but I have to say that if we don't review at least the format of the test all students are screwed.
Wow, this is what I did when teaching too! I taught in Private Catholic schools but the arch diocese required testing. I NEVER did those stupid lesson plans that the test booklets provided.

Quote:

So teachers are in an impossible position. The curriculum here has also been divided into three categories: totally important, pretty important and get to it if you have time (not the actual labels, but I forget them!!!). The totally important stuff is useless crap like the parts of speech, and the get to it if you have time stuff is analyzing a writer's message (WTF!!). The curriculum has also been standardized to such an extreme that teachers are forced to use textbooks almost 100% of the time, which goes against everything I ever learned about human development and effective teaching (and I don't do, b/c I teach gifted students, so apparently gifted students get to have a thought-provoking education, whereas regular-ed students get to become automatons). Some schools are so precise that every math teacher needs to be on the same page on the same day doing the same problem, and administrators walk around checking that it is so.
Have admins. heard of blooms taxomony or multiple intelligence learning? identify is the lowest brain level activity! when i taught, i actually used reading workshops (based on nancie atwell) and my kids all loved it! I would express to the hte importance of not just telling me they liked a book but why! when reading their journals i would continually ask the why to all their i don't or like statements. we even had kids come up w/ their own written and acted out monologs based on a character in their book we'd talk about their books in an open format. it was so cool as the year progressed to see several students reading the same book and then going oh....oooops can't say anymore or so and so hasn't gotten there yet. i had kids discovering their own reading style too. funny i had one student abandon 7 books and then finally read 1 all the way through and she was like, wow, i really liked that! and she was so proud of herself for doing it too. she always just read what teachers threw her way and kept picking out similar books until i just finally said read until you find a book you like even if that means stopping after 30 pages and finding something new.

and 1 school, i didn't even tell the principal i was doing this. what's funny is when he came to my room, i taught like he wanted to see teaching done...outta of a book, LOL! The other times I rarely had a book and actually only requested 25 copies of the book to keep in my room. students had to check it out if they didn't get something completed in class time. and spelling books. so sad the school where i did change the spelling system to be personal spelling which does work went back to spelling lists and books. so sad

all this nclb talk is really making not want ps even more for dd. i've been looking around for other options but waldorf is so freaking $$$. we're now moving out to the desert (no joke) so I dont think i'll have many options other than hs. i'm highly considering it but worried that i'd never get the learning to read thing down w/ dd. she's 2 and this is one of the hardest decisions i've ever had to make for her

mind typos spelling. brain isn't functioning and nursing baby right now. do you find when you nursing and type your brain turns to mush sometimes?
post #94 of 110
I recently left my teaching job (public high school) to stay home with my son. I can't decide whether it is a great time to be out of education until this NCLB foolishness wears itself out or whether I am a rat deserting a sinking ship. I really believe in the necessity of public education and I loved my students (yes, it is actually possible to love a group of adolescents ). I am, though, really frightened for the future of public education.

Something needs to be done. None of us (even staunch supporters of PS) would argue that the system is perfect or that reforms are not necessary in many areas. However, NCLB is a nightmare. I try to believe that the intentions of the act are good, but you know what they say about good intentions....

All of us, teachers, former teachers, parents of school age children, grandparents, childless adults, adults with grown children, need to demand that real, funded, community and teacher driven reform happens in our schools. Even if your kids are homeschooled, privately educated or grown up, what happens in public school has an effect on your life. These kids are our communities.

My plea is that people will get educated about NCLB and then get active about making change...whatever that change means to you for your kids, grandkids, neighbors, future employees etc. There shouldn't be one way to educate our children and that needs to be true within the public school system as well as available through PS alternatives (private schools, homeschool etc.)
post #95 of 110
I haven't read through all these posts but I think my nephew is part of the NCLB program and you know what? He consistently fails math for the past three years and his other grades are not so great either and they pass him! And, summer school is no longer an option for kids that need to catch up. He desprately needs to be held back and they won't do it!
post #96 of 110
jessemoon can you recommend the best way to become more informed about NCLB other than the mainstream press?
post #97 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren
jessemoon can you recommend the best way to become more informed about NCLB other than the mainstream press?
Contact the National Education Association...not a totally unbiased source, either as they are very anti-NCLB, but they can point you toward the actual text of the act and have resources about how all of the states are attempting to meet it.

Also, your state Board of Education (or whatever it is called in your state) should have the information for you. It is all public record and I would be willing to bet that most states have info. on the web about their attempts to comply. They can't come right out and say that they hate it, obviously, but you can get an idea of what is being attempted in your state.

Good Luck!
post #98 of 110

Same here....

I, too, am a public school teacher. I teach high school English in Georgia. We have some of the highest-stakes testing here. Over the past year, here is what I witnessed:
Fall: Juniors take the Georgia High School Graduation Test (Writing). they give this one to them so early because it has such a high failure rate. My sophomores took the PSAT.
Spring:Juniors take the rest of the Graduation tests. They are tested in 4 subject areas. If they do not pass one of these standardized tests (which we the teachers cannot know what is on and cannot prepare the kids for) they do not graduate from high school no matter what their grades are.
Late Spring: Now, even though we all have finals for our classes, Georgia is introducing the End of Course Tests. Basically, its a final for the whole year long course. The kids get to tak 2 finals per class now!

I watched in horror as the Graduation test scores came in the WEEK BEFORE GRADUATION. I saw girls huddled in the bathroom crying who had glorious plans of walking down that aisle to get the diploma only to find out that they they didn't succeed well on a standardized test that the teachers don't even know the contents of.

If anyone knows of a good commune that I could come work on as an English/Humanities teacher.... I can't stand this anymore. Its only my first year of teaching too.......
post #99 of 110
Is "NO Child Left Behind" the same as "Goals 2000"?

If so, you can blame both Bush Jr. and Clinton.

In CA, we have some crappy program called "Open Court". All morning hours are spent with language arts...phonics is stressed...teachers are told how to lay out their classrooms so that all students are facing forward...

Amazing.

When I was in student teaching, I was told I would have more freedom in public school. Really?

At least in private school, I have some input as a professional. All private schools are different, which gives parents true choices...public? you get what you get when you get it - get it?
post #100 of 110
reading this post has me concerned about my daughter we will be moving to Houston TX next month and she will be going to a new school she has learning problems like I do and will need some extra help. but what Iam reading up sets me. I just dont know what Iam going to do know I would love to homeschool her but since I have some learning problems myself I dont see how I can do that. I dont think priviate schools have anything for learning problems.


Christina
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