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#31 of 49 Old 08-31-2011, 02:25 PM
 
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Curriculums were dumbed down before NCLB.  My oldest started school just as NCLB came into effect.......NCLB is in some ways an ineffective reaction to poor curriculums that existed before the law came into efect.

 

By the way, schools can select any currculum they wish...NCLB doesn't specify a curriculum.

 

I'm not trying to defend the law....but to paint it as the only thing that is wrong with our educational system is simply untrue.

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#32 of 49 Old 08-31-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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NCLB doesn't necessarily mean weeks of testing.  We've always had standardized testing in our state.  My kids take a newer version of the same test I took as a child...it probably involves less than a half a week.

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#33 of 49 Old 08-31-2011, 02:28 PM
 
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I would repeal it completely.  I see no upside whatsoever.  It has taken the education right out of teaching.  The amount of time that is squandered on teaching to the tests is insane.  I've got one kid, who is a straight A honor student, who gets so torqued up about the testing that she routinely vomits the night before the tests.

 

I've seen the same things with my own  kids.  The curriculum gets dumbed down every year so that the school can yap about how well they do on standardized tests.  I work in a university.  I'm now seeing students who have never had to write a research paper in high school, because it isn't covered on the tests.  It's absolutely astounding.

 

Kids not being able to write a research paper is not a new phenomenon...heck it wasn't new when I was in college.
 

 

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#34 of 49 Old 09-01-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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IMO, the problem with the current state of education is READING!  DD1's second grade class had kids who read at a kinder level... what does that mean ABCs?  I took DD1 out half way through the year and all we did was work on reading.  She went back to school this year and she's being tested for higher level again... Which is ridiculous her level shouldn't be considered higher level, it should be considered the norm.  I read small chapter books in 1st grade, my entire class did.  Yes all the other parts of education are important too, but they just don't spend enough time on the most important thing, reading.  That being said, the tests they have in place require an ability to comprehend what you're reading.  All the other stuff they do in class is fluff as far as I'm concerned.

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#35 of 49 Old 09-01-2011, 10:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

IMO, the problem with the current state of education is READING!  DD1's second grade class had kids who read at a kinder level... what does that mean ABCs?  I took DD1 out half way through the year and all we did was work on reading.  She went back to school this year and she's being tested for higher level again... Which is ridiculous her level shouldn't be considered higher level, it should be considered the norm.  I read small chapter books in 1st grade, my entire class did.  Yes all the other parts of education are important too, but they just don't spend enough time on the most important thing, reading.  That being said, the tests they have in place require an ability to comprehend what you're reading.  All the other stuff they do in class is fluff as far as I'm concerned.


I don't agree with this. It's actually not reading at the lower grades that's an issue. In fact, we push reading earlier than most other countries and yet we have lower life-long literacy rates than most the industrial world. Countries like Sweden have the high life-long literacy rates and they don't start reading instruction until age 7. 

 

Reading novels in first grade is not developmentally appropriate for the majority of kids. Babies are born far-sighted and it takes 6 to 7 years for their vision to normalize. This means focusing on small text that is found in novels will be beyond many 1st graders physical abilities even if they are mentally capable.

 

My eldest was an acceptional reader at the 5th grade level at age 5 but most certainly, only a handful of kids in her 1st grade class were reading even small chapter books. My youngest could read any word at any level put in front of him at the age of 4 but until his visual tracking issues resolved themselves in 2nd grade (age 7) he struggled to read through even a couple pages of Dr. Seuss. Still, he was one of the highest level readers in 1st grade. At age 10, he reads/comprehends at adult levels in two languages so the slower path to fluency hasn't effected his long term abilities. DH and myself were both reading well at the age of 3. I clearly remember being my own reading group in 1st grade and I had a chapter book and the others were reading picture books.

 

Kinder reading in our area is your basic "Dr. Suess' Hop on Pop" level and really, a 2nd grader still on early Dr. Seuss books isn't so bad. Barring any learning disabilities, it's likely it'll all "click" for him in the next year or two.

 

 

 


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#36 of 49 Old 09-02-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

IMO, the problem with the current state of education is READING!  DD1's second grade class had kids who read at a kinder level... what does that mean ABCs?  I took DD1 out half way through the year and all we did was work on reading.  She went back to school this year and she's being tested for higher level again... Which is ridiculous her level shouldn't be considered higher level, it should be considered the norm.  I read small chapter books in 1st grade, my entire class did.  Yes all the other parts of education are important too, but they just don't spend enough time on the most important thing, reading.  That being said, the tests they have in place require an ability to comprehend what you're reading.  All the other stuff they do in class is fluff as far as I'm concerned.

 

Reading is a very developmental thing, and at the age of second grade one would expect that there would be a range of abilities.  My daughter would have been considered behind at that age, now I would say she is above average compared to her peers.

 

Just because you read chapter books in first grade, doesn't mean that every child is capable of that.  For some children reading doesn't "pop" until the age of 7...it doesn't mean those kids aren't as smart.  It is more of a thing like some kids start walking sooner than others.

 

I learned how to read before kindergarten.  I thought learning to read was easy.  With my daughter, all I thought I needed to do was provide plenty of books and read to her.  Which I did.  She was labeled as being behind in reading.  After doing research on my own, it turned out she needed a much more phonics based approach.
 

 

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#37 of 49 Old 09-02-2011, 11:19 AM
 
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Reading is a very developmental thing, and at the age of second grade one would expect that there would be a range of abilities.  My daughter would have been considered behind at that age, now I would say she is above average compared to her peers.

 

Just because you read chapter books in first grade, doesn't mean that every child is capable of that.  For some children reading doesn't "pop" until the age of 7...it doesn't mean those kids aren't as smart.  It is more of a thing like some kids start walking sooner than others.

 

I learned how to read before kindergarten.  I thought learning to read was easy.  With my daughter, all I thought I needed to do was provide plenty of books and read to her.  Which I did.  She was labeled as being behind in reading.  After doing research on my own, it turned out she needed a much more phonics based approach.
 

 

ITA. Some people (about 30%) are visual learners, where phonetics are not useful. I didn't learn by sounding out the letter to read the words; I memorized the shapes of the letters. Which meant I was a SLOW reader. DS is almost 7 and takes after me, so is "late". Yet my 4 yo can read, but then she can do phonetics and sound out the words. I think in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade, there is going to be a HUGE range in there, which has little to do with long-term test taking. 

 

I'm not in the states, but testing every year seems like an awful waste of time when kids could actually be studying something instead. We test here, I think in 2nd and 8th grade, and that is it. Though this system isn't perfect either, and that would be for a different post. 
 

 

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#38 of 49 Old 09-02-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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Coral123, I get what you're saying. Though don't you think that the testing at one level and even being surprised to find quite a few kids do not do well could have a lot to do with reading? It goes hand in hand really. What I'm getting at is the teachers are not given enough leeway to help kids learn rather than memorize. It doesn't take much to realize they are doing a disservice to the kids.

If they want to test them they need to tailor the tests to ability and not an expectation. It's unfair to the kid who learns at his/her own pace.
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#39 of 49 Old 09-02-2011, 11:50 PM
 
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Lmakcerka, I'm not quite sure what you are asking.  If you are talking about reading in relation to the NCLB tests, those tests don't begin until third grade.  From what I understand, that is when the developmental differences between kids level off.

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#40 of 49 Old 09-03-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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Coral I confused us both. Yes I'm talking about reading for the NCLB tests. It's pretty evident to me that reading is the main problem for those who test poorly. I sat in class with DD in third grade friday and her teacher had a read out loud story in each pod. They had to answer questions when they were done on their own. Some kids had a hard time sounding out large words and some didn't. I don't think reading out loud can show how a kids understands what they're reading but when answering the questions there were a lot of puzzled faces. Then again it could the correlation between others reading to them and possibly being hard for them to pay attention and not focusing on every word themselves.

DD's teacher said they were not given enough time to focus on reading comprehension and this bothers her. She stated she felt like she was setting them up to fail the reading test at the end of the year. Of course it's not all the schools fault. I spend at least an 1hr per kid each night on homework. I home schooled last years so it's not an issue for me and I like it. However I realize other parents may not have the time or may not always realize how important it is.

Either way something is broken.

I'm a thought process disorder type of person so if I'm still not clear as to what I'm saying I'm not offended if you ask me again.
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#41 of 49 Old 09-06-2011, 08:37 AM
 
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Putting on only my parent hat (and not my professor hat), I'm incredibly frustrated by the testing requirements. In our state, children can retake the test  until they get a passing score. Fine. No reason to penalize a child because they can't pass it in January. BUT if other kids are taking the test, my kids can't be learning new material, because the kids who are being tested would miss out. So...all the students in the school lose a TON of time to instruction because if the school (which is Title I) doesn't make 'adequate yearly progress', they're penalized.

 

It's just nature's way, there will always be some left behind just as there will be some that are out front. The ones lagging behind can't be moved up so the alternative is to move the ones out front back so everyone is more "equal". The long range effect will be dumbing down the education of not just a few but the majority to claim NCLB a success. 

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#42 of 49 Old 09-06-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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the way teachers teach has changed dramatically. They have less freedom and must ensure that our children learn what's necessary to pass the state mandated testing.  In most cases I am completely unsatisfied with our current school system.  What on earth makes sense in the idea of taking money away from the schools that test badly and rewarding those that test well????  So less money is somehow going to help fix a desperate situation??

I have also noticed a huge "dumbing down" of our children. Stuff I learned in middle school is now finally being taught to our high schoolers if at all.  I have 4 children, some of them started school just before the NCLB act came into play so we don't have a lot of Before experience, except my own and my husbands.

 

I am also very disturbed by the lack of Art and Physical Education within our current school system. In order to ensure our kids now meet state standards, more and more "elective" classes such as Arts and Physical Education have taken a side line. It's sad really. Most children need that creative and physical outlet to help them do better in other areas of learning.

 

My high-schoolers also told me that no child is (in high school as I don't know about other grades) allowed to fail or repeat a grade like when I was a kid. No, all kids are moved along through the ranks regardless of their grades (pass/fail). They will simply take remedial classes to earn the credits necessary for graduation. 

 

However, on a plus side, I have seen a huge emergence of charter schools which is great! It's nice to have options even within the public school system. Also there has been a surge in homeschooling families which bring us out of the closet, so to speak and that in turn helps those homeschooling families find more resources. :)

 

 

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#43 of 49 Old 09-08-2011, 07:05 AM
 
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The effects of NCLB -- large subject, but you have asked for a personal response. I remember when Gov. White first put in teacher testing -- literacy testing for teachers -- into place here in Texas. My daughter, second grade, came home saying that the teachers spent the entire day in the teachers' lounge fussing about it.  I remember then, when she was in the 9th grade, and the Lubbock school system's re-takers filled the parking lot of the high school. So back then I was all for testing. TASS, TEKS etc. was the Texas forerunner of the testing plan that became NCLB.

 

But for the past few years in my classroom (freshman level Sociology at a community college) I have found that recent high school students have such bad comportment that it dwarfs the "learning disabilities" or the "poor demographics" or the academic underpreparedness that I have previously been addressing. Students are astonished and offended to be expected to turn things in on time or have only 1 crack at an exam. I have an extremely liberal syllabus, eliciting rewrites until the A is made, offering 142 points (through choices of small papers) when only 90 makes an A.  Further, one may drop 3/4 of the way through the semester, but now, now since NCLB has been in place, I find that many (all recent high school grads) find a way to fail.

 

I had a student who demanded, in the middle of an exam, when the restest was. I laughed. Another student piped up to correct me, "That is a serious question!"  "That was a serious answer."  I had never in all my born days - 4 degrees - have I ever heard of a retest. They assumed it.  Along with the assumption that it was okay to talk, even correct me, during the administration of an exam.

 

I asked around about what was going on. I was told that the problem was that the Texas Legislature ruled that NCLB would be applied in specified ways, including that there would now be no deadlines and innumerable retakes.  I found that the paperwork and committee requirements were so onerous that no teacher would fail a student. Students knowing that, come to expect that even with absolutely no effort that they would be passed. 

 

No longer is it the "students at risk" but the middle and upper middle class students who are the problem. For instance, I had a lovely young lady come to me after the final, asking me to help her raise her grade. She insisted that that is what all the teachers do. After the final? A week after all other papers are turned in?  While I am calculating the grades? Yes, and if I did not, *I* was out of line. She was quite surprised when after some rather heated pressure from her, my response was "If we are to continue this conversation, we will do so in the Dean's office." 

 

 

Having long been an advoacte for learning disabilities remediation, long an advoacte of public school improvement, and long an instructor who was able to salvage and trun around  few student each semester I was for increasing rigor. Yes, I wanted to encourage teachers to do what I had always done. I wanted to motivate better performance throughout the system.  The opposite has clearly happened.  Good intentions have become a disaster. W. James Popham's *The Truth About Testing* c2001 explains how the political logic of making tests by which teachers and schools are tested  has meant that the tests are made ever easier, and the curricula is drastically dumbed down, not only by being now factual instead of skill building , analytical or ever synthetic, but now also by those very items being scaled down and further down. 

 

College instructors have to reduce the level at which they teach every few years; that's been my experience for the 20 years I've taught. I previewed a textbook for college freshmen yesterday written at a 6th grade reading level. Clearly most of the committee will adopt it.

 

But I can't leave without an answer, an encouragement.  Yes, we need increased rigor. Yes we need accountability.  Yes, we have had standardized testing before.  Yes NCLB is a disaster. Yes, we need to go back to the drawing board for public policy.  But as parents, as educators, as citizens, individually we must go back to character, ethics, virtue, truth & love. Sociologists need to do public sociology that includes moral competence and a re-embrace of honor for religion -- just like the founding fathers assumed would always happen -- and certainly did happen in their day. Shame on us for having not taught that - not even correct history -- for now about 50 years!

 

As a believer I say the church should get out of the political strife and bifurcation and start offering leadership based on going back to the methods of Jesus. As a parent, gosh I realize it is difficult to stretch to do everything, but the priority is teaching honor & altruism, Truth & Love -- basic ways of behaving. Without this moral underpinning, we are doomed to any deception and disaster at any obstacle, but with moral competence as a foundation, then we will be able to build aright.  

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#44 of 49 Old 09-09-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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I wanted to make sure everyone knows that they cannot force you to test your children. You can keep them home on testing days and have a portfolio to show growth no matter where they attend school. Just be sure your child DOES show a year's worth of growth if you do this and be sure you are ready if there happens to be an arguments from the district. BTW it is a real waste of time to practice test taking skills below high school ages. I have master's degree and standardized testing is pretty worthless if you ask me.

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#45 of 49 Old 09-09-2011, 09:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by happymommy1 View Post

I wanted to make sure everyone knows that they cannot force you to test your children. You can keep them home on testing days and have a portfolio to show growth no matter where they attend school. Just be sure your child DOES show a year's worth of growth if you do this and be sure you are ready if there happens to be an arguments from the district. BTW it is a real waste of time to practice test taking skills below high school ages. I have master's degree and standardized testing is pretty worthless if you ask me.


 

I agree that standardized testing is pretty worthless. Actually, it does a decent job of measuring socio-economic status and parental education.

 

However, I won't keep my kids at home on testing days because frankly, my kids are the ones that are helping our school make AYP. They're high achievers (children of academic parents who read a lot with them, give them experiences and talk to them about it) and good test takers. I'd feel like I'd be punishing the school by keeping my kids out. Sad, but true.


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#46 of 49 Old 09-10-2011, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wanted to make sure everyone knows that they cannot force you to test your children. You can keep them home on testing days and have a portfolio to show growth no matter where they attend school.


This must vary by state. In the last state we lived in, if children missed school on test days, the made the test up when they returned to school. (I'm not sure how our current state does it because our private school gets an opt out).

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#47 of 49 Old 09-10-2011, 05:51 AM
 
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You can always find a way to opt out.  That's what I'll be doing.  I put my kids back in school this year.  If I have to take them out in April and re enroll them in August... I'll do that.  And I can, I'm in Texas.  Homeschool is considered a private school and there is nothing they can do about it.

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#48 of 49 Old 09-10-2011, 06:59 AM
 
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I have no experience PreNCLB , but I'm concerned because my third grader is already worried about taking the test. :(  To much pressure is put on the kids. We live in Middle class suburb so our schools score well and aren't as affect by NCLB as the poorer districts are. I think in theory it''s a good idea to hold schools/teacher accountable, but in actuality it's not working. They don't take into account all the variables and expecting 100% of kids to pass the test on grade level is just not going to be possible. I think the schools need to be judged by the progress they are making and whether they are achieving the standards. They may have a child reading 2 grades behind but they managed to teach him English and 2 grades worth or reading in one year! They should be rewarded not pennalized. I also think parents need to do more and be held more accountable. Wealthier parents are the ones pushing for the retest because poor lil Jr failed and it couldn't possibly be his fault or his grade! Other kids are not doing homework, don't own a single book, are spending all their free time watching TV/surfing the net. Our culture does not promote learning. That is one of the biggest problems I see and where the change really needs to start. Only "dorks" do well in school is not the mentality that is going to get our country up to par. :/ 

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#49 of 49 Old 09-10-2011, 05:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meetoo View Post Our culture does not promote learning. That is one of the biggest problems I see and where the change really needs to start. Only "dorks" do well in school is not the mentality that is going to get our country up to par. :/ 


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