Five minute primer: No Child Left Behind
President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan while speaking at an event on reform of the No Child Left Behind Act in September 2011.
January 6th, 2012
08:10 AM ET

Five minute primer: No Child Left Behind

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) Ten years ago, on January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law.  Since then, the law has been the topic of numerous discussions among lawmakers, educators and parents. Want to know more about it?  If you’ve got five minutes, you can learn the basics of NCLB here. Read on.

Background

NCLB, as it came to be called, enjoyed bipartisan support in its early days. Although it is often associated with President George W. Bush, one of its sponsors was the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts. The bill was actually an update of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which was aimed at supporting disadvantaged students in low-income area schools. ESEA was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. With Bush’s signature in 2002, NCLB became the most sweeping federal legislation on education, with far-reaching impact in the nation’s schools.

Focus

There are many provisions to NCLB, including sections on safe and drug-free schools and parental involvement, but its intention is to drive and measure student achievement.  At the heart of the law is a mandate for accountability and measured student outcomes, derived primarily from state-administered standardized tests that are given annually in grades 3 through 8 in math and reading.

Under NCLB, all schools are striving toward “100 percent proficiency” in math and reading by the 2013-2014 school year. That means that all students must perform to satisfaction on state tests in these subject areas by spring 2014.  Since this provision went into effect, states have set their own benchmarks toward achieving the 100% goal. The yearly benchmarks are called Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP.

Schools are held accountable for making AYP. If a school fails to make AYP for two consecutive years it is labeled as “Needs Improvement” and school officials must formulate and implement a “turnaround plan” for that school. Schools that remain on the Needs Improvement list for additional years must offer other public school choices and/or tutoring options to their students and parents. Five years on the Needs Improvement list could cause the school to face restructuring, including terminating staff and administration and turning the school over to a private operator.  

Pros and cons

Supporters of NCLB applaud the law’s intent and its attempt to bring accountability into the classroom. There are also those who say that NCLB has resulted in movement toward closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their peers.

Many NCLB opponents are focused primarily on what many call “high-stakes testing.” They argue that the testing mandated by NCLB turns classrooms into test preparation centers and takes time away from subjects that aren’t tested, like social studies and science. They also question the expense of test administration and the feasibility of attaining the 100% proficiency goal. And there are some who say that last year’s school cheating scandals are a byproduct of an education system that leans too heavily on test scores.

Where it stands now

More schools were listed as failing last year than in any previous year since the passage of NCLB. Almost half (48%) of U.S.schools did not make AYP in 2011, according to the Center on Education Policy.

In August 2011, the Obama Administration announced that states can apply for waivers from provisions of NCLB if they meet other federal mandates.   Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said that the goal of the waivers is to provide flexibility for states while maintaining accountability and high expectations.

Critics argue that the issuance of waivers is an end-around move to circumvent a law passed by Congress, and some question its constitutionality. Others question whether the waivers amount to additional federal control of education.

In spite of a bipartisan Senate committee attempt to address changes to the law, Congress did not vote on NCLB in 2011.

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Filed under: NCLB • Policy
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. JOSE0311USMC

    LOOK THE ONLY WAY TO HELP POOR KIDS LEARN ? IS TO CUT DOWN THE CLASS SIDE TO 15 KIDS PER ROOM...40 KIDS IN A CLASS ROOM ? KIDS ARE NOT GOING TO LEARN MUCH..ONE TEACHER CAN'T TEACH SO MANY PROBLEM KIDS IN ONE HOUR..IMPOSSIBLE ......I WENT TO A RICH UPPER CLASS SCHOOLS, I SAW 14 KIDS IN THE CLASS ROOMS...AND PEOPLE WONDER WHY POOR KIDS ARE NOT AS SMART AS WHITE KIDS...DUH....I CHALLENGE ANYONE TO GO TO A POOR SCHOOL IN THE SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO--EAST LA-THE BRONX NY.....THAN GO TO AN UPPER CLASS SCHOOL.. YOU WILL SEE THE HUGE DIFFERENCE..SOLUTION ?? MONEY–MONEY.. TO HAVE 15 KIDS IN A CLASS ROOM, YOU WILL NEED MORE TEACHERS-MORE SCHOOL BUILDINGS===MORE MONEY..

    January 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  2. Boomer in Mo

    When even severely mentally challenged kids are expected to perform proficiently at grade level, the law has absolutely no common sense. 90% of what is wrong in Washington, D.C. is lack of real world experience and total lack of common sense.

    January 10, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  3. mickey1313

    we need to end no child left behind. We need to maqke parents do the work of raising there kids and not rely on the public.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      MAKE PARENTS TEACH THEIR KIDS ?? WELL THAT IS ANOTHER PROBLEM THAT POOR PEOPLE HAVE.. SEE POOR PEOPLE BOTH PARENTS HAVE TO WORK TO PROVIDE FOOD AND PAY THE BILLS....RICH PARENTS, THE MOM CAN STAY HOME WITH THE KIDS WHILE HER RICH HUSBAND WORKS...POOR PEOPLE ARE AT A HUGH DISADVANTAGE ...STAY AT HOME MOM CAN TEACH THEIR KIDS WHEN THE KIDS ARE AT HOME.. POOR PARENTS ARE AT WORK, KIDS ARE HOME ALONE... SO IS OBVIOUS WHY RICH KIDS CONTINUE TO HAVE A HUGE ADVANTAGE ON POOR KIDS.

      January 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
      • Jim Bellows

        Do not have kids until you can afford to them. Stop having kids to get an increase in your welfare check.

        January 13, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  4. jamesd

    Some of Obama's spin on things make me want to throw up. This is one of them.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  5. vintage 274

    As a career educator I applaud the government's concern that education in our states is extremely uneven and that NCLB was created in part to help prod states into better dealing with a widening education gap between the kids prepared to go to college and the others. Special education has been accounted for as has education for the gifted. The problem has been in the middle and especially among very poor kids. That gap between the poor and the middle class was widening every year, and when we added large numbers of newly immigrated, non-English speakers, the gap widened even further. So the initial premise of NCLB was a good one. The problem is that not everything can be solved by testing and the requirements of testing have generated their own frankensteins. When testing becomes a priority, there is a danger of teaching to the test questions rather than teaching SKILLS. Often creativity is squashed because kids who are behind need lots of work to catch up - no time for the fun stuff of education, the exploration, the inquiry. Just learn the basic stuff. There's also a problem of tying teaching jobs to a teacher's performance on testing alone. If the kids don't succeed, the teacher loses a job. Here's the rub. NCLB makes it difficult to succeed. If a school has a large population of either economically disadvantaged or non-English speaking students (or often BOTH), it is always behind in what is considered "proficient." Even if the teachers work like fools to have their students improve, the improvements cannot be enough in any one or two or sometimes even more years to reach proficiency. I taught for a year at a "Needs Improvement" school - one that had not reached proficiency for enough students in two consecutive years of testing. Three-fourths of the school population was second language learners (new to the U.S. by less than 5 years). Two-thirds were economically disadvantaged. For each of the years in which the school had "failed" under NCLB, it had still moved ahead by leaps and bounds in test scores. So the school was not actually failing to teach. The kids showed they were learning. They just were "failing" by the standards of NCLB. I am a specialist trained in helping children succeed. My year (in 7th grade) was focused on as many variables as: study skills, basic reading skills, note taking skills, textbook use, nourishment for learning, classroom behavior, manners, coflict resolution, group cooperative learning, etc.– the basics of HOW TO LEARN - IN ADDITION TO my subject matter of English and history. These other skills are CRUCIAL to the success of underachievers. My students' test scores jumped by an average of 49 points per child. That's a HUGE leap. It put the really bright kids who were still struggling with a new language not only into the proficiency category, but into the advanced category for many. The less able kids, despite how far they had come, were still not proficient. Much, much closer, but not there yet. And remember, I had been carefully trained to work with remediation. The average teacher is not. There need to be measures created by which NCLB rewards what are extraordinary efforts. Schools whose test scores improve each year without reaching proficiency are still succeeding; they just started farther behind. They don't need to be called "failed" when they are, in actuality, succeeding. The problems in education in this country are many. The learning populaion has changed drastically in 50 years; student preparation for school and learning has changed; student behaviors have changed; and funding for education has changed - all to the detriment of our schools. When people look back on the first half of the twentieth century, they don't see successful education, they see a primarily white population either already in or striving towards the American middle class with strong communal ideas about how society worked, how people behaved. Today's America is so diverse in expectations, social behaviors, economic strata, language, and goals as to be an entirely different country. No standardized test is going to solve the problems that generates.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      PLEASE KEEP IT SHORT. NO ONE HAVE AN HOUR TO READ YOUR COMMENT.. SHORT TO THE POINT.

      January 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      YOUR COMMENT IS WAY TOO LONG TO READ, BUT ONE IMPORTANT THING THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IS TO CUT DOWN ON THE CLASS SIDE...HAVING 15 KIDS IN A CLASS ROOM IS EASIER TO TEACH THEM THAN 40 KIDS..BUT IT TAKES MORE MONEY..

      January 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  6. DebWestport

    What Obama and Duncan know about education could fit in a thimble.

    I wish it were as simple as just demonizing one guy, who I truly feel is a demon... like Duncan, or Bush, or Obama, or Chaney, or Clinton...but that aside, best case scenario, they get rid of him tomorrow, they will just fill the position with another that behaves just like him.

    You can't kill the dragon by cutting off a part of it, you have to take off the head. NCLB has to be abolished. Destroyed. Eradicated. The Finnish Model has to be brought in by outside people, maybe even from Denmark and Sweden and Finland.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  7. bobcat ( in a hat )

    A decade of "no child left behind", and the only ones not left behind are the priviledged. How do you cut funding for education and not leave a child behind ? The education system has failed our children, because the government has failed to support education.
    The few, whose parents can afford to send to private schools will go on to college to get a degree that's not going to mean diddly squat. The rest will try to find work.
    If the education system had been supportive of the schools, the "no child left behind" slogan may actually had some meaning.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  8. Concerned Teacher

    A one-sided fix is not the answer to a multi-faceted problem. There are teachers that slack off. There are students that slack off. There are parents that slack off by being uninvolved in their children's education.

    Every one of us that is involved in a child's education (educator, student, and parent) need to claim responsibility for this problem and fix it. I am sick of hearing blame being thrown on one party or another.

    I, for one, will act on the problem. Will you?

    January 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      I'M NOT A TEACHER, I'M A U.S. UNCLE SAM MARINE...BUT TRY TEACHING 49 OUT OF CONTROL KIDS IN ONE HOUR, IMPOSSIBLE..I RATHER TEACH 15 KIDS ...THAT IN MY OPINION IS THE # 1 PROBLEM..TOO MANY KIDS IN A CLASS ROOM.

      January 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  9. patw2100

    Just another left wing big liberal government program that takes wastes our tax dollars and takes away our right and freedoms.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • AlanWick

      Uh...actually, No Child Left Behind was the brainchild of the Bush Administration...So, it's interesting that you call it both liberal and left wing.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • vintage 274

      This "left wing," "liberal" program came out of the Bush administration. There is nothing liberal or left wing about it. It sets standards for success based on kids jumping through academic hoops and then being judged as proficient or not with no accounting for improvement, no accounting for differences in learning populations as far as being able to use the English language to take the test. In many states special education student's scores are averaged in with college prep kids. Imagine how that affects a school's average. Get real. The program is flawed. Doesn't matter where it came from, but NCLB is NOT liberal. It's conservative number crunching.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  10. Laura JT

    Public Schools today are a disaster; many private schools are not much better. They are not based on how children learn, they are based on pushing kids harder and longer in the hopes of stuffing their brains with "stuff". We need a complete overhaul of the system. No Child Left Behind and done little but leave just about every child in this country undequipped and under educated. We need to give children the tools they need to learn, not treat them like their little computers that need to be programmed. We should start with the trivium, an intelligent education system based on how humans learn. We have failed our children and NCLB must go. In the meantime, we've created a disaster that is happening right in front of our faces. Teachers are not allowed to teach children, they are confined to teaching to the standardized tests laid out by the government.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Laura JT

      So sorry for the typos and misspellings. Hopefully most people are able to grasp what I'm trying to say here. Our children and teachers are not failing. Our system has failed our children and teachers.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
      • JOSE0311USMC

        ME, A NAME IN HERE IS A SPELLING COP. WATCH OUT.

        January 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • vintage 274

      You are a voice of reason. Education is not about learning STUFF; it's about learning how to learn and where to find information. The American public seems to think that public education is a performance of knowledge facts in the same way that it seems to think a college education is a preparation for a specific career. A basic year college degree has, throughout history, been an opportunity for a student to explore knowledge in a variety of subjects, being introduced to often conflicting ideas about the world, and using reasoning skills to determine what he/she believes. It has not been an enlarged tech school preparing students for the work force. Recently though, Americans are treating it like it is. We have completely forgotten what education is about, where we came from, and how we need to adapt to a whole new world now that computers and electronic media has changed our lives.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      LAURA I AGREE WITH YOU... BUILD NEW SCHOOLS–BUILD MORE SCHOOLS–HIRE MORE TEACHERS SO YOU HAVE 15 KIDS PER CLASS ROOM.. THE KEY OF SOLVING THE PROBLEMS... THE GOVERNMENT SPEND $$$ BILLIONS ON DEFENSE , MOST OF IT IS WASTED.. $ 500 DOLLAR HAMMERS-$ 2,000 toilet seats--the waste goes on and on... i' m glad they are cutting military spending...upper class towns do not need any help, the poor towns schools is where the help is badly needed..

      January 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  11. Dale N.M.

    Uneducated dysfunctional parents begets uneducated dysfunctional kids break that circle things will get better.

    That simple !!

    January 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Boomer in Mo

      You are right. Much of what is wrong with public schools goes directly to parents. Parents who don't care. Parents who don't push their kids. Parents who took drugs from the time the kid was conceived and damaged their brains. Parents who always blame the teacher, not a lazy streak in their kid. There are some bad teachers but I know some great teachers, but teachers as a group are treated with contempt by this country. I saw something about Norway (I think it was Norway) the other day. That country treats teachers with the highest respect but requires all of them to have at least master's degrees. The country also avoids standardized testing and works hard to educate independent thinkers, not just kids who can vomit out facts they can't figure out how to use.

      January 10, 2012 at 9:55 am |
      • JOSE0311USMC

        someone have to stick up for poor parents when they are unfairly attacked ...poor parents both are force to work to pay the bills,,, so is obvious why their kids get a poor start...rich parents , the mom can afford to stay home with their kids..a huge deference..

        January 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • JOSE0311USMC

      poor parents don't have a choice , but if they did? i 'm sure the mom who love to stay home and look after the kids if they could, but both have to go and work to make ends meet......again the key ? is smaller class rooms in poor schools... i was poor, i went to poor schools that had 35 to 40 kids in a room...one teacher can't get to so many kids.. impossible...so again the key to solving the problem in poor towns schools ? smaller classes... i did o.k. but if i was a kid again ?? i would want to go to an upper class rich town public schools.. they have the tax base to have smaller class side..

      January 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  12. Concerned pareant

    This article just proves what I have been saying all along. If anyone would actually take a look at the public schools today compared to ten to twenty years ago you will find out that most of the teachers back then had a stronger work ethic and actually cared about the students and there progress. They were there to help to improve skills and even strengthen social skills. To many times Schools now days lean more on what the students are wearing more so then what the students are learning. I do not believe that teaches today could even hold a candle stick to the teachers of yesterday.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • me

      I find it humorous that while commenting on the sad state of our educational you mispelled as simple a word as "parent"

      January 8, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
      • JOSE0311USMC

        A SPELLING COP, OH NO I'M IN TROUBLE.

        January 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Regina

      I am an elementary school teacher. I could not care any less what my students wear to school. However, I do devote a significant amount of time–much of which I am not paid for–working on ways to teach them important skills.

      I have taught for 13 years. I can assure you that no other teacher I know cares about clothes either.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Lancelot

      You also misused "there." Continue to be concerned and involved in your child's education.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Dale N.M.

      I am not saying all teachers but a majority of them are high dollar babysitters, there are a lot of people that have figured out there are good benefits being a so-called teacher, they are in there for the benefits not the kids.

      They have also figured out if you join the teachers union it is very difficult to get them out, as long as they pay their union dues.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
      • JC

        Define "high dollar" please. Haha. It is not that the teachers are not good. Granted, there are always going to be some bad ones. However, the majority of teachers want their students to learn and succeed in school. Things like NCLB make it hard for teachers to be successful. Standards should be high for students. There is no doubt about it. However, I believe we have gone about it the wrong way. All NCLB has done is set school systems and students up for failure.

        Now, the one thing some of the new laws have done that is positive is making it harder for teachers to get tenure. This helps weed out the bad teachers. It puts more pressure on the teachers, but it's a good thing. I teach, and I agree with this aspect of it.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • NikkiG

        High dollar babysitters? I think not. If we were "high dollar babysitters" we all would be in a different tax bracket. That is not what we want to do anyway. We want to educate those students and for someone to think we are babysitters, that shows how messed up our educational system is from the outside looking in.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
      • Xinechan

        How much do you pay a sitter for 7 hours of sitting per child? Let's say $4 an hour per student with 30 students in the class. That would be 30 students x $4 an hour x 7 hours or $840 a day. Teachers teach 180 days of the year so obviously these "babysitters" are bringing home $151,200 annually.

        Actually, most young parents I know can barely handle the $125 weekly they pay the state sanctioned daycare/babysitter available in OR. They look forward to the money they will save when their child enters public school because it will reduce their out of pocket costs in the child care area. Some families plan to have the next child only after the eldest enters school.

        If both parents had to work and had to pay $125 a week from birth to the age of 18 no one would be able to afford children. CHILD perhaps but not CHILDREN plural.

        January 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
      • vintage 274

        As a career, award winning educator whose students have done outstanding things in the world, I can honestly say that you have NO IDEA what you're talking about. I can count on one hand the number of bad teachers I knew in 20 years of teaching. Most teachers are dedicated, hard working, underpaid workers who are expected to solve ALL the problems - educational, emotional, psychological, and sociological - of their students because they aren't being solved in their homes. Teachers are underpaid. Many districts provide NO health benefits. Teachers are required to constantly upgrade their skills (accomplished at night and during breaks). They work long hours after school and on weekends because there is rarely enough prepartion time for the tough schedules they handle. As a hgh school teacher for many years I taught seven of eight class periods offered each day in 4-5 DIFFERENT subjects or grade levels. That meant preparing not 1 lesson plan per day, but 4 or 5, generating 4-5 different tests. It was exhausting. I had 1 preparation period per day which (if I was lucky and didn't have a parent conference meeting some other obligation) covered ONE of my 4-5 preps. The rest had to be done at home. This is why teaching has a high turn over rate. Thnk back to your own education. How many of your classmates really wanted to be in school, tried their best to learn, and behaved like they should? If you're honest, it wasn't a whole lot. I loved my job, but I sacrificed a lot to do it.

        January 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • Timothy

        To all those who blame teachers and their unions for the state of education: How do you explain the fact that the countries at the top of the list of educational achievement all have higher levels of teacher union membership than the United States?
        Teach students to think, not how to take an exam.

        January 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • Boomer in Mo

        Starting pay for teachers in my area of MO is about $27,000 a year. Is that high dollar? The highest paid teacher in my county gets $48,000 a year. That teacher has more than 25 years of experience and an education specialist degree, which is beyond the masters level. Does not sound high dollar to me.

        January 10, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Concerned Teacher

      A one-sided fix is not the answer to a multi-faceted problem. There are teachers that slack off. There are students that slack off. There are parents that slack off by being uninvolved in their children's education.

      Every one of us that is involved in a child's education (educator, student, and parent) need to claim responsibility for this problem and fix it. I am sick of hearing blame being thrown on one party or another.

      I, for one, will act on the problem. Will you?

      January 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • Charles

        The idea that the failure of the student to learn is the teacher failing in her job is seldom true, any time the parents or parent fail to ask there child what they did in school each day is a great failure than anything that happened in school .

        January 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  13. Empathy

    Step back in time, remember when you were in school. Those were the days. GO way back to elementary school. Remember it? Recess! What fun ! A morning recess, one at lunch and an afternoon recess. We had so much energy and we needed to get rid of some so we could learn. Oh and remember all the art work we would bring home to our parents. We would use glitter, macaroni and stuff to make pretty master pieces. Oh and penmanship. We need to know how to write so people could read what we wrote. We also learned how to tell time on an analog clock, addition, subtraction, multiplication, reading, and so forth. We had parties for holidays and we had assemblies. Oh the good old days. Oh and we did have standardized testing, well at least me and my classmates did. Many of the students didn't like taking them so they would just mark in the circles and carry on. You know, C,C,C, B,B,C,C, and so on. Ornery kids. Oh and our school year was in session for a shorter time then also. Wow, what our teachers accomplished back then. They turned out the like of great Presidents, doctors, lawyers, nurses, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah, many many successful business men and women, on and on. Huh our teachers don't teach. I remember clearly my teachers teaching me in school. Huh, I stand confused at this malarkey I feel we have been fed and so many have gobbled up. I work in a school not as a teacher but I do work in school and I witness what is going on. Our poor elementary students who have so much energy get one recess that is in combo with lunch. How many of you when want a break during your day, yet our young ones full of energy have to sit and be engaged learners cannot have a break. They are not allowed to be creative anymore unless it is in art class. Penmanship has been thrown out the door I assume the government believes everyone will just write on computers one of these days. . How do we even know what many of them have written. I have heard here that next year learning about money is out of the curriculum (made we wonder about the government and doing away with money), The 6th grade math requirements are being shifted down to 4th grade. Really? How? The government can do this and set everyone up for failure on purpose even more so. Had you all not noticed the algebra and geometry the first graders are already suppose to be doing yet they cannot add yet in first grade nor ready those mathematical terms. . Oh my goodness. We can look at the standardized test as an adult and be able to answer it but that does not mean a young child should be able to, nor that they want to. Many of my fellow students and siblings didn't want to back in the day and students still don't want to today, especially when the government is wanting them to do lessons that is way beyond their capabilities. The teachers have to try and keep the young students interested when it is beyond what they understand, boring and long. I walk I the shoes so I know, I feel for the students and the teachers. I feel they are being set up for failure. Why is the question. I believe it would have to do with money and turning the schools over to the private sector. We have to be careful and think for ourselves and not just be lead as sheep to the slaughter. Think outside the box, on your on and don't just join the governments hate band wagon. Remember when you were a child. Were you educated?

    January 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • 1gadawg

      very well put!

      January 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • blessangel

      Totally agree

      January 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  14. bandgeek1

    One simple question: When was the first or last time any one group achieved 100% proficiency in every subject?

    The testing premise is a false one. Not everyone is capable of doing the same level of work as the next person. If we were, we'd be a disaster as a civilization. The goal of any school should be to find the children's strength and build on them. Determine their weaknesses and help them move past them.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Empathy

      Agreed to that as well. Standardized, treat everyone and give everyone the same thing so no one can say some one else received something else, ruined that. Kind of sad isn't it.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  15. bebehot

    illegal immigrants are all lies . why we have to support them ? our money our taxes .why ? then we all broke ? why we do nthe stupid things ?

    January 8, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Lancelot

      What?

      January 8, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  16. Thezel

    It has closed the gap between those who have and those who don't at the expense and detriment of those who have it (ie, college bound students). Far more resources are required to help those struggling, and given limited resources, those are taken away from the best students, who will need to carry this country on its back in the future. Those getting the help, and closing this "gap" end up being burger flippers and wal mart stockers at the end of education anyway. What value is the extra help providing.little.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • NCLBHater

      Agreed. I also agree with another post that the people's strengths should be identified and built upon. Putting all students in one room hurts both of those endeavors. Standardized testing is fine, but the results shouldn't be used to try to figure out whether a teacher is good or not. If a teacher didn't get certified in special education, why are you judging them on scores that include that group for example. You're making someone that didn't train to do such a thing at the same level as someone that has. Doesn't make sense.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
      • NCLBHater

        Strike making. Add accessing.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  17. Voice of Reason

    GET REAL (Jan 8 @ 11:14 AM) post warrants repeating. I very much like concise / crystal clear / statement . . .

    Everyone's got a job to do: A teacher's job is to teach; a parent's job is to parent; and a student's job is learn.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  18. Sagebrush Shorty

    Safe and rug free schools? This law is already a failure. Now States can apply for waivers. Shades of Obamacare.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • t3chsupport

      Say NO to cold floors!

      January 8, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  19. Many Nations - One Planet

    Seems to me that Republicans are determined to dumb down education even more.
    I just came here after reading the comments on Rick Santorum, and the people supporting
    him are nuts.

    I watched a video during the Iowa caucus, and a woman supporting Bachmann
    said she was doing it because Bachmann would repeal health care.

    How christian, and how american is that ?

    No child left behind has put this country so far behind the rest of the civilized world,
    its sad.

    President Obama has said that it would be ideal if all our children could go to college,
    and Santorums response was one of "outrage", "Oh, the hubris" of that man telling
    the rest of us how to live.
    All the while, Santorum has made it clear that if he gets the white house,
    telling the rest of us how to live, is exactly what he will do.

    Conservatism is a disease of the mind.
    You cannot go back, while the world moves forward
    The only way to combat this disease is through education.
    Please get as much of it as you can.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • bandgeek1

      AMEN!

      January 8, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Erik

      I'm sorry, but I can't agree with you on your statement that everyone should go to college. Colleges are beneficial for some, but I believe it would be better to fund trade schools and vocational education than to say "Everyone should go to college." Not to mention, many jobs in our economy require training that colleges and universities simply cannot provide, and that is where trade schools and vocational education provide the necessary education for workers.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Aetna7011

      One of the main proponents of NCLB was Ted Kennedy, you know, of the Kennedy family, some of the most well known and staunch democrats in the last 50 years or so. Why do things always have to be a partisan issue? And, I also take issue with your statements regarding the position of American students relative to those of other nations. Sure, the Germans or the Dutch may have higher test scores, but does anyone remember to mention that they test their students in elementary school and remove their students that are deemed to be below the levels required to attend universities. Does that sound like a better American education system? I know for a fact that American students are not falling behind. When you take a population as high as ours is, sure, the middle 50% and bottom 25% will be subpar to say the least, but when you begin to examine the top 5 to .5% of students, you will hopefully realize there is a bastion of hope in the American populace that will take hold in the next 10 years or so.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  20. Roxanne Colangelo

    Let me ask you all this....They want to judge a teacher on a student's test score and that will apparently dictate if that teacher is good or not...Ok then using this same brilliant philosophy then why don't we judge cops on a the crime rate on the area they work. So if they work the south side and the crime rate doesn't go down well then they must be bad cops right?

    In addition to this where do we factor is parent involvement? student attendance, students doing the work etc etc

    January 8, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Doogie Browser

      Most parents expect teachers to raise thier children for them.
      But the parents want to control what is being taught.

      Parents have to raise thier children to have respect for others, but they dont.
      Pledge of allegiance is in.
      Prayer is out.
      Keep that at home.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • John

      Teachers should be graded based on their students improvement level... Thats the key

      January 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  21. teacher255

    I have been teaching 4th grade for 3 years and I love my job. But I'm going to be complete honest: if someone had told me 7 years ago when I started college that teaching was full of test after test after test, meetings, AYP reports, parents blaming me for their child not doing well, and people blaming each other for whatever, I'd think twice about my career choice. Don't get me wrong...I wouldn't give up my classroom for the world today.
    I don't like NCLB. As an educator, it takes the life out of my classroom. As a taxpayer, I realize that the goals set by that law are unattainable, even in ideal situations. As a human, I can't believe that we put that kind of pressure on kids. I gripe and complain about NCLB all the time. Do I like the accountability? It has it's perks. Do I like, as a teacher, having goals and standards for my students to learn? Definitely. Do I like the fact that the only way we know if a teacher is doing their job is by giving their students a test and then another test? Not at all. When I took these high-stakes tests as a students, I didn't care about them. My teachers tried to make it fun but it was a test. There's no way around that. And that's the teacher's fault? I think not.
    Politicians think they know best. How many politicians have ever taught in a public school? How many of their children attend public schools? How many of them have stepped foot in a classroom for more than a photo shoot and actually had a conversation with a teacher? They try to tell me how to do my job when they have no idea what my job is. Education should be left to educators.
    I'm learning what it takes to be a good teacher. It takes time. It takes perseverance. Honestly, it takes trial and error. My students have shown improvement. They've shown maturity. My job is not just to shove standards down their throat. It's to educate them so that they are prepared for life. Education is more than just a test score. Once we realize that, maybe, just maybe, education can get back to what it should be.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • 23yearteacger

      I have taught for 23 years. I love teaching. But will 100% of my class be proficient? ARE YOU KIDDING??? We are not all the same. Our home life is not the same. Our parents are not all educated.. And if the only thing I care about is how the class does on testing, then I SUCK! That isn't education. Education is well-rounded. It's History, Science..experiments, art, discussions, not just passing a test. A child's mind is longing for knowledge. Politicians, let us teach....you concentrate on blocking everything Obama wants, and stalling government into non-existance. LET ME TEACH.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • JerryS26

      /Stand and applaud/

      January 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  22. unowhoitsme

    ALL children have been left behind...obvious when we rank 28th-35th in the world!

    January 8, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  23. KatR

    Five years on the Needs Improvement list could cause the school to face restructuring, including terminating staff and administration and turning the school over to a private operator.

    ------------------
    I worked for a public school district in a job requiring the collection of student/financial info for purposes of education funding before NCLB kicked in as well as after it became law. The above statement from the article sums up the goal of NCLB.....to measure student education results via standards for how a profit-making business should be run and when the results show failure.....turn the whole education ball of wax over to the private sector. In the state where I worked govt offficials continually blamed public schools for wasting taxpayer dollars on administrative expenses rather than the direct education of students. We continually showed them detailed proof that we were not wasting those dollars and their response was always to come up with more wasted taxpayer monies being spent to report addtl information they hoped would validate their assumptions. Instead of the various schools within our district serving the needs of all students within their attendance boundaries in a manner that reflected neighborhood values and parent desires NCLB forced these schools to compete against the education plans of other schools in the same government defined district. and a goal of 'the best school wins the game'. Stupid.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  24. Education Failure

    "college graduate unemployment" does exist in modern day recession. You still lose money everyday in the pile of financial loopholes. There's nothing else to do with higher education.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  25. Pete

    Not everyone gets to be an astronaut when they grow up.

    despair (dot) com/potential (dot) html

    January 8, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  26. bewitched

    I am beside myself with so many of the comments that I am reading. The teachers blaming parents, the parents blaming special needs or language or students whom are totally dependent on their teachers. Now, do any of us have to ask why our children do not seem to be learning the way some feel they should? It has so much to do with the way the adults are thinking in this country. If you're a teacher and you don't feel you should be held accountable for the class you are teaching, maybe you should find another job. I know for a fact that the reason "No Child Left Behind" had not worked for so many schools is that they don't understand it. They make it harder than it has to be. I also know that in all schools there is help for students that need help. For parents blaming special needs, ones language, or students whom are totally dependent on the teacher, I know for a fact that it isn't true. There are aides for children whom are dependent on their teachers, there is help for language and special needs. These children don't hold other children back. What our children need is to be allowed to be children again... when life was simple and fun, before technology came around and took over all aspects of our life. Every day our children are on the internet, their minds are filled with all the things wrong and little of what is right. They read about things that are set in their minds forever more. Being a child today, it's really hard to think of the future and believe in it. What country hates the US? Why are we at war? Was it right? Will we be attacked again? Is there global warming? What about illegal immigration? What about our government? We have children watching their parents lose jobs, losing homes, and even kids quitting school to help out at home when there is poverty in the home. The older kids are staying home to help care for their younger siblings, now you want our kids to learn? It will have to start with changing the way we all think. Everyone talks, but nothing gets done in this country and if we don't do it, than all we'll ever get is what we have right now.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Jihad Grihm

      I agree with everything you've said. But there are a few things from my experience that should be mentioned as well. Aside from the drama that may go on at home and the neighborhood, there are bullying and trickery going on under the teachers and principals noses. This hinders the thoughts and speech of the children.

      Now, the teacher and principle cannot be everywhere at all times of course, but something needs to be done with this nucleus of the other problems. Somehow there need to be a check and balance of children’s mood and behavior. Teachers need the same thing, something on the order of venting their frustration, and psychological training and evaluation. Come on, we really want this NCLB to work, right?

      School systems should practice more on being cohesive. Like a single unit and even switching roles and subjects with other teachers. Overwhelmed the children with love, concern, care and follow up with parents. Creating an extended school. Let's get creative here. Then extend this out to other schools and communities, include professionals to assist if needed. Sounds too idealistic? Need more resources to accomplish such a task? If we all put our heads together, we can come up with an inexpensive way to do this. The consequences of not coming up with an idea for the children will allow the children to continue to suffer and become vulnerable to the bad and uninspired elements that await them.

      January 7, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • texgirl2762

      Good Lord, what a pompous and overbearing sermon. Who the hell do you think YOU are? As a parent and also a teacher for almost 20 years (and yes, I love my job), I can tell you that you are unequivocally full of utter crap. Get yourself into a public school classroom for a semester or two before you start spouting off. No one wants to hold our children accountable for ANYTHING anymore because their parents will then wail and scream and threaten to sue. NCLB will never work, nor will any other corrective government measure, until parents quit enabling and coddling these children and/or leaving them completely rudderless so they (the parents) can be free to pursue their own interests. Apparently there is no happy medium in this country. The overall norm now is: "I want to have kids, but I don't want to mess with them. However, don't you dare mess with them, either!" This is directed not only at teachers but also at cops, judges, coaches, counselors - you name it. We are living in the most selfish, self–absorbed, hedonistic period in our nation's history, and you think the solution is "to let children be children again." I rest my case.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:27 am |
      • Flatsguide

        textgirl2762's post makes more sense than any of the other crap written here.

        January 8, 2012 at 10:53 am |
      • Getreal

        You go, girl! Everyone's got a job to do: A teacher's job is to teach; a parent's job is to parent; and a student's job is learn. Additionally, while it would be nice to think that no one gets left behind, the reality is that some do. Some people are smarter, better looking, more talented; we can try to level the playing field (and we should) but bottom line not everyone can or does succeed no matter how much money we throw at it or how much finger pointing goes on.

        January 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • twistedpuppet

        I'm tired of more and more parents just shirking their responsibilities as parents and blaming everyone but themselves and not holding their children accountable for their actions.

        January 8, 2012 at 11:30 am |
      • TNgirl

        So much anger and frustration. I hope you don't carry that into the classroom.

        January 8, 2012 at 11:32 am |
      • DrJStrangepork

        Accountability has to be met on all levels. Kids, Parents, Teachers, and (because of public school system) Gov't all have their parts to play. Kids get no direction from Parents as Parents (if you get to have two) are too busy trying to pay for all the crap they do and don't need. Parents cannot rely on Teachers to do all the work because they can't and won't. Even if they care, there is only so much they can/will do. Gov't should do more to create better opportunity for Parent's to be part of their kids lives and educations, but the US political output is conflict not progress.
        I don't coddle my child in her education. She has to do her work, but the exchange between teacher and parent is a joke. My best guess is that since not all kids can have the same level of parental involvement it makes more sense to keep parents out and treat all the kids the same to get ready for the NCLB testing.

        January 8, 2012 at 11:40 am |
      • Da_Maestro

        As a teacher on the south-side of Chicago I completely agree.

        January 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Michelle

      You must not be a teacher. Most of all education ( at least primary) starts at home. Parents should be held more accountable, as they are one of the most important aspects of a child's education. I say it starts there. I feel for our teachers here.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • joetrombone

      Right on. You coud also add we live in an era of a need for immediate gratification coupled with questionable family units.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  27. Tyler

    Of course, some comments blame the teachers' unions for making it impossible to get rid of bad teachers.

    Meanwhile, over at CNN Money, this article: http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/06/news/economy/state_local_jobs/?npt=NP1 starts with the words: Nearly 250,000 state and local government employees lost their jobs in 2011, with the ax falling particularly hard on public school teachers. And the bleeding is likely to continue in 2012, experts say.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Joe

      But are the bad teachers the ones leaving? Not always

      January 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
      • Caihlyn

        Chronically underperforming schools are taken over by the state. The state fires the teachers and administrators. The administrators are shuffled around to other schools in the district, fifty percent of the teachers are rehired. Now, the question is, do we double class size or do we hire new inexperienced teachers at a lower pay scale? Hiring at a lower pay scale saves the budget, but does not necessarily improve the education of the students. Unless teachers are regarded with respect and professional level pay, no one will choose to become an educator unless of course they are already financially well off and have an altruistic heart.

        January 8, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  28. CoTeach

    Our public education system often mirrors our society. There is no question why students continue to show a lack of achievement when we consistently reward bad behavior. We have become an enabling society regardless if we are discussing schools, prisons or family structure. We reward the thug mentality, Kardashian outlook on life and unrealistic celebrity status of people by infusing these negative images in our culture. Where in media today do kids see the value of education? Parenting includes bringing back traditional values and strong moral character in their children. Just because you care for your child's physical needs doesn't categorize you as a good parent. I teach in a public high school and students constantly ask me why all the "bad students" get all of the attention. We spend extra time with them in meetings where the parent often fails to show up, we develop all kinds of behavior contracts, individual learning plans and we continue to give and give to the student that understands no value in the education system because it is not valued at home. We, as a society, reward bad behavior constantly. Think of the modeling that creates for our young society. A teenager gets pregnant and she is assured that her child and herself will have everything they need in life. How can that young mother then teach the value of education to their child when they didn't reap the benefits themselves? A young adult commits a crime; they are sent to counseling, state run facilities and given a second chance when their records are sealed upon adulthood. We continue to enable society, so why should parents teach their children well? Where is the incentive and the reward? You must have a license to keep a dog in most towns, yet anyone can reproduce and call themselves a parent. Then when the child acts in precisely the manner they were raised, it is a teachers fault. It is everyone's fault but their own. Instead of mandating education, we should mandate parenting. There is no coincidence that my successful students have involved parents that show up on parent/teacher conference night, maintain communication with the school and actually MAKE their kids attend school on a regular basis. A teacher has a student for a short amount of time compared to the environment a student is subjected to at home. If society truly wants to close the achievement gap and improve education, we need to start holding society accountable and stop enabling and rewarding bad behavior.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  29. Otto

    How can teachers expect to educate (dumb) children, when parent have no interest in their parental duties? Every child learn at home first and parent that place education as a top priority, have children that will succeed better than others.
    Walk around in many neighborhoods of most big cities and you’ll find students that are a failure.
    First, discipline has become a thing of the past and there's not respect for peers nor elders anymore. I dare say a teacher can't place a student in detention anymore as it was in the 70's and 80's.

    Even though it is far easier to learn and there are many more tools available (internet); student having very little or no proper home training and encouragement will fail. The same goes for kids who believe they all can be Michael Jordan or other basketball greats; yet being as dumb as a door nail.
    Education begins at home, teachers are there to teach but not to be mothers, fathers and guidance counselors. In others words, dumb parents begets dumb kids.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Cherryblossom

      YES! I think you said everything perectly.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  30. Casey

    There are no good intentions in NCLB. It is a law designed to give education enough rope to hang itself and the educators will demonstrate how to tie the knot. The vast right-wing conspiracy does not want an educated populace so they can continue to make a mockery of democracy leading to complete fascist control. Just check talk radio and FOX tv to see their efforts. These plans started in the 60's when the fruits of education started to pay-off as civil rights and anti-war protests. The last thing the powers that be want is for the People to think.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  31. Yakobi

    NCLB was doomed to failure. I said this 10 years ago and history has proved me right. It was poorly conceived and unfunded.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Firespider

      Unfunded? this law made it to where the department of education pays 10 cents on every dollar that every state pays for lower education! Adding a 10% increase to the education budget of every state. Although this might sound like a good thing ,as a contractor that has made a living off of school board waste this is bad. Education is a sacred cow and will always be funded and in four diffrent counties i have seen them waste millions of dollars each at the end of every year so they can claim the funding was not enough and it must be increased the next year.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  32. hahaha

    Hmmm This sounds oddly familar to how national security policies are made. That's why the DHS is so large. I would wager nearly every dime is wasted is a family of four can just run across our border. Same with education... The federal government took control and now look at us. Most people can't write without putting in texting acronyms.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  33. Just Graduated

    There is no such thing as a pro in the NCLB. Only CONS. I graduated in 08. My sister was in high school 4 years before me. When she was there, they had auto, carpentry, home Ec., Agriculture and about 4 different languages. By the time I got to high school in 04 the only thing left thanks to NCLB was 1 language class, and it was mandatory. This law has done nothing but ruin our public education system. Also, if you're good at taking a test like I am, it's no problem. I didn't pay attention in class yet I scored a 99 on the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) and kids that can't take a test could listen all year and fail it. Then they were put in remedial classes to learn more about the test and over half of them dropped out of high school. Where is the success in that.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • plmd

      Well said.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  34. John

    And the dumbing down of America continues.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  35. TeacherMan

    If you've been in a hospital, then you should have an opinion on the best way to operate, which medicines are most effective, and how to get rid of bad doctors.

    Sounds pretty silly, doesn't it?

    That's why educational policy should be left up to educators, and not politicians.

    But, if I'm wrong, then maybe I should play in the NFL. I've been in a stadium several times. I know a lot about it.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Maxine

      LOVE LOVE LOVE your response TeacherMan...it is the truth

      January 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • John

      Did you happen to stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night?🙂

      January 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Deb

      I thank you for this wise and logical viewpoint. I have often said that just because you have sat at a desk in a classroom doesn't make you a good judge of what needs to be taught and how it should be done. Please leave that up to the professionals in the business of education. I am a teacher of 28 years. Do I think we as a "business" need accountability? Yes, we do. Do I like the current plans in place? No, I do not. I think we have to be reminded that education is not a factory or industry with the use of statistical process control where our variables are handled by tweaking a machine. Our product involves humans. These kids that make AYP difficult to achieve often come from broken homes, homes where there are no parents but rather grandparents, financial struggles which take precedence, health issues where loved ones are struggling with life threatening diseases, parents who simply do not take the time to help us show the children that education is their ticket to success and those parents that are afflicted by a substance abuse.
      And while almost 50% of our youth cannot pass these high stakes tests (by the way. . .have any of you ever gone on to your state's department of education and viewed parts of these tests? How many of you could have passed these when you were this age? ) this is not the case in all schools. Many public schools are doing an outstanding job. . .and yet we are placed in the same category as those schools who are not. We are also under the general blanket statement of "failing". The one thing I have found over the years is small is good. Smaller schools are making the grade because we are small enough to be visible to everyone. We can't hide; nor do we want to. We know the parents and the grandparents. We can head off a problem when it starts. And yet we are blasted by everyone in the media as needing to be fixed. This is where local control needs to happen. Just because I know what works in my school doesn't mean I know what will work in another school. Before you claim to know how to fix education, get a degree and teaching license. Spend your summers studying up on the ever changing curriculum. Take classes that you will never be reimbursed for. Spend your evening and weekend hours working for everyone else's children while your own must take a backseat. Spend 60-80 hours a week working and get paid for 35. Listen to the comments of how you get 3 months off in the summer when in reality you are unemployed and not eligible for unemployment. Be told that your 12% payroll deduction for retirement is not enough. Be scourged for wanting to retire from the profession and remain in the profession at a lesser rate in order to save your district money because you are "double dipping". You won't complain if we retire and work in another job in which we have never had any formal training. It's no wonder that evenings I go home feeling worthless. Feeling that no matter how hard I try and how much I care about your children it will never matter. That no matter how much money out of pocket I spend to make it a more enjoyable experience for your child it will never be enough.
      Sorry if I offended any of you out there, but you have wounded me deeply.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
      • George

        Good points all. And, thank you for the comment about not being qualified to comment on education just because you went to school. This has stuck in my craw for years. Everyone thinks they know how to teach just because they went to school. By that reasoning, I'm qualified to pilot a 737...not. Having taught for 32 years myself, I totally agree that most of us who are truly professional do not mind accountability. An additional source of frustration that no one has mentioned, however, is the way measurement is handled. It is unnecessarily complex and rarely accurate. For example, our school went on the Needs Improvement list at the end of last school year because our growth on the writing assessment taken by juniors did not meet the state's prediction, regardless of the fact that we made more gains than any year previously and had the highest scores in our district. Other schools were predicted lower, so they were not penalized. Most of us have just shrugged and chuckled and shook our heads; we know we are making progress and that we will eventually get to the predicted level. But, it is ludicrous to label our school as failing - and that is the public perception when they see a school on the liste - when we clearly are making not only progress, but good progress. Another example came to light just this past week. One of my colleagues got notification that one of her students is currently in jail and will return after spring break in March (and, no, we are not in an inner city - our school is majority white, rural/suburban). Yet, by state law, this student will be present for half of the required time and, therefore, the low test score he will inevitably make on the state-mandated test will count against this teacher. In what universe does this make any kind of sense?

        January 8, 2012 at 10:39 am |
      • George

        Sorry...I got a llittle off the beam on my previous response. It is perhaps small consolation to hear another teacher say "I feel your pain," but I thought I should throw it in there not only for support, but also to demonstrate to others that you are not alone. You make some excellent specific points. I, too, tire of hearing about having summers off and "all those vacations and days off." Put up with a class like I just finished with this past semester and you would need a vacation, too! These were seniors in a high school English class that is required for graduation. Enrollment in the class was 34 at the beginning of the semester. By semester's end, enrollment was down to 29 due to dropouts and arrests. (Again, we are not an inner city school, but a suburban/rural school with a minority population of just under 2% in a reasonably affluent district). Of those remaining 29 students, 5 had probation officers, 2 had behavioral modification plans, 3 had severe medical issues, and 6 had instructional modification plans (IEP's) because of learning disabilities. The average reading comprehension level for these high school seniors was about 6'th grade. There was never one single day of the semester - not a single day - when every student was present in the classroom; in fact, the average absence rate was 4 per day. Only a small handful of these students were responsible enough to get their makeup work when they returned from an absence; most never asked, and even when I made the effort to hand it to them it rarely ever got turned back in for credit. The curriculum for senior English requires students to demonstrate proficiency in vocabulary and spelling, as well as basic grammar skills. It also calls for them to read literary selections (both fiction and non-fiction), analyze those selections and be able to understand their historical context, discuss them intelligently, write about them intelligently, and make connections from them to the modern world. The reading selections included such classics as Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, and A Modest Proposal. Now...the next time someone thinks they know how to tell me how to do my job, I want them to consider this: Have you ever even read any of these selections? Did/Could you understand them? Do you understand their historical context? Could you discuss and/or write about them intelligently? Could you make connections between them and the modern world? Good...the teacher has to be able to do all those things first, himself/herself. Then, he or she has to get a bunch of barely literate high school seniors who don't even come to school or do their work to do that. And then get measured on his or her ability to do it. I actually made some progress with most of those students. Could you? I doubt it. I was able to because I know how to do my job, but it was hard...damned hard, and I know hard work. I've worked in construction, in newspapers, and owned two small businesses. None of them exhausted me as much as does teaching. Unless you have done it, you don't have the proverbial clue.

        January 8, 2012 at 11:19 am |
      • 23yearteacher

        Right on, Sister!

        January 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
      • Molie P

        Good comments, Deb and George!

        As a retired grade eight teacher I'd like to add the fact that our state testing results are reviewed each year. As student performance rises, the tests are rewritten to make them more stringent. After all, the tests must be too easy because more students are meeting the goal! So the standards are adjusted and the test itself changes from year to year. Sounds logical, right?

        Well, please consider that the same group of students is not being tested in the same way each year. In other words, I began each year remediating the problems of the incoming seventh grade according to the expected standards for my eighth grade.

        To do this I looked back at the grade seven scores and focused on those low-scoring areas and on those students at the bottom. In fact, those low-performing students are the main focus because those are the students not making adequate yearly progress (AYP). Then I reviewed the testing standards in my grade eight curriculum and dovetailed my lessons according to the needs of the seventh grade class. However, to be even more BLUNT, my prime focus is always the same: that small number of students not meeting AYP. Those are the students that can cause a school to "fail."

        This focus on the bottom group was the goal for the whole staff at my school. We began the year with a review of the previous test and an analysus of all low areas. At each grade there was an identification of and focus on the low-performing students.

        If I as an English teacher had students who failed in certain math strands, I needed to incorporate those skills into our classwork. In the same way, the gym teachers were expected to provide writing/math graphing/etc. activities in their gym class to remediate low test areas. "Test vocabulary" was to be taught in all content areas so that students would be familiar with test vocabulary... what do paraphrase, estimate, compare and contrast, inverse, analyze, connotations and denotation, explain using textual support, etc., mean? Thus, passing low test areas became every teacher's goal.

        In response to the state scores of last year, the Acting Educational Commissioner, quoted in one of our larger city newspapers, stated that
        " 'he was encouraged by students' progress.' But, he added: 'The disparity in student performance here in Connecticut has been an unrelenting problem that not only is evident from these latest [mastery test] results, but also in every other standardized assessment that we report.'
        He said educators need to rethink how better to engage low-performing students through more 'culturally relevant' curriculum and programs.

        Why? Well, the paper want on to inform the reader that "The mastery test results have high stakes: Under the federal No Child Left Behind guidelines, a school that slips below proficiency levels for a number of years might be sanctioned. The high stakes also extend to a city or town's reputation and property values."

        January 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • plmd

      I've flown in planes a lot. Maybe that makes me a pilot!

      January 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  36. Kevin

    It's like this, as long as "THEY" keep making laws about education, "THEY" can pretend they care about education.
    See, it's like funding it, but with out actually spending any time finding out what the Real Issues are, or spending any money in the places that would actually be helpful. You see, if "THEY" spend a bunch of money on something that only peripherally effects schools, children, communities in need ect... "THEY" can say they've spent on education. Later, when test grades don't actually go up, "THEY" can say that "THEY" have done all "THEY" can, and it's up to (insert favorite or currant boogieman here ) to start doing their part and start to sacrificing.

    I use "THEY" because none of the political parties can claim the high ground, and WE THE PEOPLE are told that it's the other guy/Party/Political Persuasion that's to blame.. and WE just keep eating it up.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  37. Futureparentofpublicallyeducated

    Parental Responsibility. That's all that needs to be said. My sister-in-law just resigned from teaching and the last thing she had to do was a parent/teacher/administrator conference on why Little Johnny failed her class. The parent went on and on about it was my sister-in-laws fault for not giving johnny chances to pass her class and that she was too demanding. Well, Johnny was given the task of reading a book and write one paragraph on what the book was about to pass the class with a D. Aparently that was too demanding for the kid to understand. In the end when my sister-in-law told the parent of all the things they were asked to do and additional chances to pass the class the mother was still outraged. The kid even stepped in and said they didn't do any of it because they didn't want to, but the parent still felt that was the teacher's fault and belittled her because the parent didn't get involed until the F showed up on the final report card.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Wondering

      I wonder what would happen if the parents of students who did not meet the basic standards through testing, in return had to pay more taxes so that their child could get the extra help they needed?.....Hummmmmmm

      January 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
      • BooesyBoo

        It would never happen. It is too easy to blame teachers why children are failing in this country. Parents are too busy to be truly involved in their childrens academic career, afterall, school is to be fun. It is a trifecta in regard to accountability; the government/schools, the parents and the students. We blame one with no accountability on the other two.

        January 8, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  38. Craig

    It's really very simple. When parents are held accountable for their role in their child's education, then I'll be happy to hold teachers accountable for the same. Until then, NCLB is completely missing a key element in figuring out why today's children are as stupid as they are. I love how parents can't wait to fob off the responsibility for their child's work ethic and behavior onto teachers.

    January 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Futureparentofpublicallyeducated

      I couldn't agree more.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  39. svann

    Under NCLB when kids test poorly they have their education funding cut. This does not improve their education.

    January 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • plmd

      Very good point. It's like taking away food from someone who's hungry because it's their fault that they're hungry. Makes no sense.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  40. littlewoman

    Your first three words should have been "you know THAT" not "you know IF." Please stay in school and if you're not in school, please go. The mind is a terrible thing to waste:-)

    January 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  41. Kelly

    My school, which is an award-winning school, did not make it's AYP for the second year in a row, because one of our significant subgroups-English Language Learners-did not show any progress. I could go on all day about the politics of this this, but I have to go home after work tonight, after I put my kids to bed, and redesign my lesson plans because I could either be fired for it or lose part of my salary that I earned in previous year's students' progress.

    January 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  42. littlewoman

    I'm going to pray for you and all those who resemble and think like you! God Bless:-)

    January 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  43. FedUpwithLA

    The fact of the matter is that some will be left behind, others won't. There will be Beethovens, and then there won't be Beethovens. If you don't want to be left behind, then you had better catch up. It's not the government's responsibility, it's yours, or, for the kids, their parents', too. Let's think about personal responsibility, rather than another level of governmental interference in our lives.

    January 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Alex

      This is well said and the EXACT argument against Socialism/Liberalism in general. Not everyone gets a trophy, only those that have earned it, do.

      The counter-argument to NCLB is, are we stunting the growth of fast learners during elementary school because teachers have to stick to teaching a test (in fear of losing school funding or their jobs)?

      January 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  44. TROLOLOLOLOL

    You're feeding the trolls...didnt your mother teach you better?

    January 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  45. An Educator's View

    Another overreaching problem is that with the law we now strive for mediocrity. As someone who taught at a "failing" school in NC for two years, we were constantly trying to get our students to become proficient on end-of-grade (EOG) tests. To be proficient you had to get a level 3 or 4. A level 3 meant that you understood 60% of the given material. We openly applauded and recognized students who successfully knew 60% of what they should have. This is NCLB in a nutshell.

    January 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  46. petemg

    Keep Obama and the federal government out of education. If he had his way they would be singing praises to him.

    January 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Derangedcowbrain

      Right... That makes total sense. Singing praises. Yep, that's what Obama wants. As a teacher, I already begin every class with a salute to Obama, so there's really no need to add that provision. Good thinking though.

      *sigh* The dumb stuff people say....

      January 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
      • Sean

        You have obviously missed all the articles about children in school singing the praises of Obama during his election.. Just because thats not part of your lesson plans, doesnt mean that its not part of a thousand other teachers.

        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAlrSRVdKZY&w=640&h=390]

        January 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • Casey

        @ Sean...oh yes, if it's on the Internet you'll believe it, then exagerate. It's probably millions of teachers, right?

        January 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  47. nevermind

    And what it forgot to do? Oh yeah, eliminate the stupid TEACHERS UNIONS so we can actually get rid of underperforming TEACHERS.

    January 6, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • nevermind

      Although I suppose then the democratic party would lose half it's campaign contributions, so that will never get bipartisan support...parents need to form unions, cause we're getting bullied by the stupid teachers unions.

      January 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
      • Derangedcowbrain

        You are? What, are they coming to your house and telling you that you're not doing your homework?

        Your comment makes no sense. The only thing Teacher Unions do is help fight the bureaucracy that is inherent in the system. Teachers and administrators are highly trained to understand how education works. But politicians often make incredibly stupid laws (like NCLB) thinking they understand how to make education better. Teacher Unions help protect the teachers from people who do not understand how education works. We want to get rid of bad teachers too, by the way. But realize that any student can claim that something is wrong, and that it not always is.

        January 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
      • ollie

        And again, let me ask you, nevermind, exactly what you do or do not know about how unions support their members?
        That both sides negotiate contracts so that the hiring and firing process is clear and nepotism, vendetta, or graft aren't the sole measure of jobs gained or lost? Oh, but that is how the private sector operates, isn't it? Put the power is in the hands of the employers and trust them to be fair and just . . .
        Seriously, you think THAT has ever worked for us?

        January 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • teachers husband @ parent

      you want to get rid of low performing teachers, not a bad idea, but what about low performing parents. Its been my observation that more often than not the problems start at home...just saying

      January 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Ted Ward

      Above all get rid of the teachers unions to get rid of the union "work rules" that make running schools impossible and rob taxpayers of their hard earned cash while diverting that cash (and power) to the unions. Taxpayers need to take back control of their local schools and tax dollars by kicking the teachers unions out. The teaching profession has been ruined by the unions who treat teachers as if they were factory workers and not members of a real profession.

      January 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
      • ollie

        What do you know about teacher unions and the contracts they negotiate? Work Rules? What specific rules are you referring to? The ones that try to keep class sizes small so that instruction can be more personal for your kids? Or maybe the rules that give teachers time to prepare lessons and grade work so that the learning needs of your kids can be better addressed? Oh, maybe you mean the rules that require teachers to actually teach the approved curriculum and not whatever pops into their heads each morning?
        Gosh – those really suck.

        January 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
      • 23yearteacher

        You and Scott Walker need to hang together. You know nothing about the Teacher's Union. Speak with knowledge, not ignorance.

        January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • John

      And while you're at it, get rid of underperforming parents as well. Once that's accomplished, problem solved. It's that simple, isn't it? After all, isn't everyone's kid a little genious that gets dumbed down by a teacher?

      January 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • TeachersRpeople2

      Many years ago, there were teachers who were kept in place because they had many teaching years and may have been protected, but that is not really the case anymore. Now, getting rid of a "bad" teacher is super easy. Heck, getting rid of a good teacher is easy too. NCLB has made teaching in the urban schools very difficult because in an attempt to close the loopholes in the laws, many states have created nooses for urban schools. Imagine having to get students with learning disabilities, those who have only been in the country (yes legally) for two years, and those from very broken homes and/or refugee camps to proficient? It is not a bad teacher who can not do that, it is the system that the teacher must function in that creates a bad situation.

      What is your definition of a bad teacher anyway? Do you volunteer your time in an urban high school? If you don't, before you post anything, walk a mile...

      January 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Judd

      Right. And then have good teachers fired on a whim while teaching classrooms of 40-50 children. Just like the good old days.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  48. Midloo

    CALM DOWN

    January 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  49. littleww

    We spend so much time, money and effort on the disadvantaged students and those that are in the bottom third that the top third are completely ignored. What about our gifted students? How many TAG programs do we still have in place for those students who are academically and intellectually gifted? Being a teacher myself I am seeing that unfortuanately we are now teaching to the test. How does this help the whole child and what about electives, where do they fall? Our children need to be educated as a whole, with art, music, physical education, science, social studies, computers and business, not just reading writing and arithmetic!

    January 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • plmd

      Yes.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Priya

      I agree with you. I was in high school when NCLB first started. I was in the gifted program. I was already in a poor district that had terrible test scores. We were taught the test and that was it. Nothing was challenging. My entire gifted class coasted through high school. A good chunk of us didn't even bother going to classes other than the required amount. Every single one of us were in the top fifth percentile when test results came back. Every single one of us developed a terrible work ethic because none of us were being challenged, none of us were being asked to think. I don't think I ever spent more than an hour a week on homework. We had to read maybe three books per year for English classes. There was no call for excellence, there was no challenge, no desire to educate those who were asking for it. Only those who didn't desire to learn were focused on. Gifted was forgotten. I'll never agree to NCLB because of the way it hurt my education. I will never send my own children to public schools. I'll home school before I allow them to be put into a feeder system that just spits out the lowest common denominator.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  50. Ollie

    I would also like to throw into the discussion the possibility that, under the guise of 'failing schools', there is a growing industry that is seeking to get its fingers into public money. Think Halliburton but in Education. They contract for services, get money from your taxes, but you have no control over the services they provide – you will get what they give you and they will say they are meeting the terms of the contract, even if they charge $10,000 for a desk, pay employees minimum wage, and skim profits off your kids.
    If the private sector can convince the public that schools are failing, that teachers are all bad, then they will tell you they can fix it.
    Tell me what happens when the fox is allowed to build and manage the hen house? That is what one of the underlying factors is here. Education is one of the last public funds that private businesses have yet to be given free reign in.
    Just a thought . . .

    January 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • PublicSchoolTeacher

      You've really only scratched the surface on this issue. Just wait till school voucher programs take off. What happens when a private school accepts voucher money and a kid fails out of the private school and lands back into the public classroom. What about the kids the private won't accept in the first place?

      January 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  51. niknight

    The road to Hell is often paved with good intentions. Let us look at some of the good intentions that were introduced in NCLB:
    1. The ultimate goal is for all children to be proficient, but it doesn't give extra funding to schools to help the special needs students get there. What the law has done is forced all school districts to adopt a one size fits all education policy, because that's all they can afford. No extra money for special ed, no extra money for gifted programs (which is an area that we have been sorely declining in).
    2. If a school is labeled as underperforming for more than 4 years, the entire administrative staff and a minimum of one half of the teachers are fired. If the school doesn't perform adequately next year, the entire staff is fired. While it would be nice to root out bad teachers, what kind of people do you think would apply at a school where there is a greater than 50% chance that you will be fired at the end of the year through no fault of your own? That's right... you would only get the bottom of the barrel candidates!
    3. It's up to each state to decide what counts as proficient. While this is great for the State's rights issues, it's not so good for education. I had a student a couple of years ago who transferred from one of the best schools in the state of Ohio, and was doing fantastically well there. When he entered my classroom, I found out that he was woefully behind what my school would consider to be baseline knowledge. Everything that his class at the old school taught in an entire year, my class had covered in the first quarter and a half. We need some overarching standard so that we know where students have to be if they move.
    4. Although this isn't directly contributed to NCLB, the educational paradigms change more often than an NFL team changes head coaches. Every 6 months – 1 year there is this new model that is supposed to solve the "problems" that we have been having. Just as educators start getting used to the program in place, the districts spend tens of thousands of dollars changing the game! A little consistency would be nice here.

    Since my lunch break is almost over, I'll have to leave it here.

    January 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • PublicSchoolTeacher

      There's another critical flaw with the whole testing idea in many states. The people taking the test don't necessarily suffer from the failure and receive no reward from success. So the schools are at the mercy of kids who might very well be resentful that they have to spend hours taking a test.

      School districts have resorted to cheer-leading but as the kids grow into their teens cheer-leading seldom motivates.

      The state of Maine uses the SAT to assess Juniors partly to give them a vested interest in the results. Kids who have the means to go to college get to take the test for free, great. Kids who, for whatever reason, don't have the means or ability for college spend a Saturday taking a long overwhelming test. If overall combined averages were measured things might be OK but NCLB requires specific numbers of kids to reach a specific score.

      January 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • tangoman

      Excellent analysis. Add to it that many schools basically close down for a month at the end of term to teach the SAT, so that science, history, social studies, art, etc. go out the window. You might also be interested in the fact that the states get to set their own level of pass/fail. That is why a state like Mississippi can be in the top 10% of Federal achievement and in the bottom 10% when tested by an independent agency.

      January 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Derangedcowbrain

      Absolutely great summation. NCLB is a bad law with good intentions. Put trained educators in charge of making education policy, not politicians.

      To paraphrase an old saying, war is too important to be left to the generals. Same in education. It's us grunts and NCOs that make it work.

      January 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Chrism

      Nclb is a top down approach that assumes the problem is lack of motivation and forcing schools to shape up or close will fix the "problem.". I don't think it was ever so much lack of motivation. Scores first of all correlate with poverty. Everyone kind of knew where the schools that would score lower were from the beginning. It's resources. You need to work on poverty itself and get the schools the resources to compete. Really the test were just going to confirm what schools scord lower. Then it's unrealistic. You can't ask kids with significant disabilities to pass the test. Schools now tell those kids don't show up on test day. I can't believe they haven't changed the 100% requirement yet. Nearly every school in the country will fail AYP in 2014. It's top down. It identifies but doesn't give the tools to fix the problems.

      Granted fear helped some schools. There are some success stories. And creating standards in our information age is important and great. let inner city schools see what topics are being taught at Bronx science. Share lesson plans. It means kids everywhere can get some of the best and not get gipped. But that should be done nationally and can be separate from the testing. NCLB is more about testing and fear to motivate.

      So,e testing is good but it was going to show what most people already know. Then if you're going to do something don't just threaten to close the school and fire the teachers. If the government is going to do something, how about look for patterns. Find clusters of schools performing badly. Use that information to increase programs in that area to help fight poverty and aid families. Investigate those schools. Send them aid directly. Send them textbooks and smart boards. For the cost of administering these tests and closing a whole school I bet they could buy some new books.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  52. KeepItSimple

    I've been in the field of education for over 10 years and I've seen first-hand how destructive NCLB has become to the classroom. Now the emphasis is on teacher accountability and evaluations based on standardized testing achievement for your students.
    First of all, these standardized tests are not a viable or accurate account of what a child has achieved in the school year. Let's say I'm a 7th grade teacher and a student comes to me on a 4th grade reading level. By the end of the school year he is reading on a 6th grade reading level yet, inevitably, fails the 7th grade standardized test. I will not be given acknowledgement for that student's gain – though advancing 2 reading levels in a year is no easy feat! I will be punished because he didn't pass the grade-level test. Absurd. NCLB was designed to close the achievement gap yet all it has done is widen that gap and exploit problem areas – not address them.
    You want to close the achivement gap – here's how you do it. Each state must approve a school district's achivement standards – as they must align with state standards. Since states are still afforded sovereingty regarding education (at least, a litte) the federal government should be proactive instead of reactive. For every child you have qualifying for Free or Reduced Lunch, English as a second language, or with a disability; that makes your state approved honor roll, you get a $1000 tax credit at the end of the year. And the achievement gap disappears.

    January 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  53. Tony

    I'd love to see "No Media Left Behind". How often do you pick up a newspaper or magazine and find multiple grammical and spelling issues? Is the United States going to spell the word "socialize" or "socialise"? The entire world, except for the United States, is on the metric system, our glorious leaders are behind the times. Oh, perhaps the best question would be when will we see "No Politician Left Behind"?

    January 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • TomBomb

      Is it "between you and I" or "you and me" , for "For you and I, or "you and me"? Journalists and teachers alike muck it up. We teach it incorrectly, and it ends up showing up in the media incorrectly.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  54. David

    Please, please, please could you elaborate a little in the details of the article. Specifically, as it pertains to the passing requirement. I find that when people hear that schools must attain a certain passing grade everyone thinks that is a reasonable request. However, if articles and news on the AYP actually stated that ALL students are encompassed then the opinion starts to change. By ALL that means every single student in the school, including recent immigrants (I believe in the US for at least a year) and all learning challenged students that have been mainstreamed. You put AYP in that context it makes no sense and many people start to get one of the basic problems with NCLB.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Jesse from KC

      Notice the article is called "Five minute primer: No Child Left Behind – ..." Not "An in-depth Analysis of NCLB and a Discussion of It's Short Fallings as a Law." The author was probably told (asked, or decided) to give a brief run down as a primer for a future story on here so that people could be "Primed" for it. They won't be able to get into every detail, or even most details. It also appears that the author attempted to remain neutral about the law as well, which is relatively difficult to do if you're familiar with it.

      January 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  55. JOE

    So what's Rick Santurum's position on NCLB? He probably sees this as more waste of federal money geared towards helping the poor and disadvantage.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  56. Tammy

    Make their parents pay for the transportation to and from school, go back to making parents pay for tutoring and summer school and make parents pay for school books and school standardized testing and see how fast and efficient their little johnny's and susie's learn. You say education is a right, well ok I'll go along with that for a split second. It may be a right, but it shouldn't be FREE. Our tax paying $$$$ pay for ALL THEIR EDUCATION, make them accountable by showing to us that they are willing to learn, and give them tests that they pay for to prove to us they are worthy of that FREE EDUCATION.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • larvadog

      Tammy, you're not making any sense. How can it be that children are receiving FREE education that our tax dollars PAY FOR?

      The parents, who pay property taxes (either from owning a home or renting one), ARE paying for the books, desks, teachers, etc. Those who pay federal and state income taxes are paying for that stuff too. TINSTAAFL.

      January 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • JustJ

      Really? It's free? So my tax money isn't going to pay for my kids' education? Really? NOT FREE. And I read one of your other comments, about how children with disabilities shouldn't be publicly educated. I hope that someday you have a child with autism, like I do. You'd be changing your tune in a hurry. In a strange way I feel sorry for you, I don't know how anyone can go through life with such a lack of compassion. You must be a miserable person.

      January 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Kevin

      Here's where this would lead:

      1. Because school attendnace is required by law, the lagel system would be overburdened due to non-attendance
      2. About half of the students in our country wouldd cease to be educated because their families can't or won't pay
      3. After a few years of having high school drop outs and less educated citizens we won't have a country of workers
      4. We'll all be speaking China within 10-15 years

      Horrible ideas, Tammy. Public education is nation building too. While I don't agree with much of NCLB, I do agree that we need to take care of children. If their parents are lazy and irresonsible irt's not the kids' fault. In fact, the more we can break that cycle of pverty the better off we will be.

      I am a middle class worker and my wife and I have two children who we try our best to care for and raise to be happy and successful. Lots of kids dont have parents like that. I don't mind taking care of those kids who don't have it as well as my kdis do. NCLB forces the haves to take care of the have nots.

      What;'s alternative? Do we let the disadvantaged kids die of malnutrition and diseases? Do we let them fend for themselves so they start their own struggling, dysfunctional family? That's insane. It is in everyone's best interest to take care of these kids. They get a better chance of living a happy life, and we take care of ourselves by protecting our national economy.

      January 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  57. bigdil

    The overriding fault in NCLB is that it attempts to hold schools accountable for a student's inability or refusal to learn. Further, the 100% proficiency mandate is ridiculous. While it is possible that some good has been done, I'm not convinced. It's easy to improve test scores without actually improving learning one iota. Bottom line: NCLB was a fraud from the beginning and those who claimed otherwise must now face up to it.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Jason B.

      The 100% mandate is the biggest issue. Heck, you could hand 1,000 random people a bag of cash and you wouldn't get 100% happy. Some kids just don't test well. Others get great grades, but couldn't give a hoot about another mandated test. I do agree though that schools are forced to focus so much harder on math and reading and they're leaving out other subjects (or they barely get touched). And then people wonder why the U.S. ranks so poorly against the world in social studies and science!

      January 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Carl

      It's a pure political fantasy, and a total failure of the government to understand that impossible standards result in cheating and skewed priorities.

      January 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • yeti37

      re: unwillingness to learn. I've always said, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. And you can lead a student to school, but you can't make him think." A teacher can't work miracles seeing a kid for only 50 min. a day for 180 days (and that gives the student 185 days without teachers, only parents).

      January 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
      • P

        Right; kids need to spend far more than 180 days in school. That is why so many other countries excel over us in education. School should be year round with a brief break after the end of each quarter.

        January 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • plmd

      Absolutely. It's impossible to demand 100% proficiency in anything. Surgeons don't have 100% survival rate in their patients (which is expected, it doesn't mean that they're bad surgeons, just that there are other forces to consider). I could go on and on, but I don't think there's any need. There are just too many factors affecting a child's success in school.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  58. JOE

    I understand the principle behind NCLB but what happens when a black person in this country gets a college education and decides to run for President? Well, lets see...Ummm...the Tea Party resurfaces.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • John

      I'll bet he's a hell of a lot smarter than you.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  59. Jay

    Any "educator" that passes a child who is not proficient is the problem. A parent cannot pass their kid. If the teacher has done their work and has the homework and tests and standardized test to prove the grade, their is no problem. It is all about money to the schools. If they hold back a student for a year or two, the odds are that they will drop out, then the school misses out on the money for his keister sitting in a seat. Teachers has a BS at a minimum and they have your kid for 7 hours a day. So why are are "professionals " unable to convey ABC's and multiplication tables? Only 33% of 4th graders are proficent. Pathetic. Teachers are the problem. Even orphans or kids at boarding school can learn.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Peter E

      Maybe in your family parents have not passed over their child... but many kids DO get insufficient support at home, whether through parental negligence, or because abusive bosses have those parents work double-shifts for minimum wage. Many parental responsibilities are thus unfairly passed onto the teachers, who are unfairly being held accountable for students' behavior problems that the kid actually developed at home.
      This extra work, constantly having to worry about students' behavior, adjusting lesson plan after lesson plan and running after special education students and their parents takes up an immense amount of time outside of class. So your estimate of only 7 hours of taking care of kids a day is laughably low.
      Instead of accusing teachers, why don't you actually ask one of them how they spend their day at school and about all the extra responsibilities piled on them? Maybe you'll LEARN something for a change...

      January 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
      • HenryMiller

        In short, neither schools nor teachers should be in the business of providing social services. Nor should they be required to babysit kids who can't or won't learn. All any of this stuff does is damage the education of the kids who can and want to learn.

        January 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Trolololol

      You sir should take a sociology course at some point. You can try shoving all the information you want down a child's throat but when they leave school and enter their REAL world... There is no room for education. You sir scream middle class white suburbia. Get out a bit and go volunteer in these schools and you will see it for yourself.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Jason

      You live in a fantasy world. Teachers are under constant pressure to pass kids from principals and parents. It matters not how much 'evidence" is present. Principals, many who are not even 40 years old, will do anything to have kids pass so that their school meets NCLB guidelines. Parents don't want kids to be educated they just want kids to get an "A" so they can brag to their friends. Rule one of NCLB should be if Johnny doesn't meet certain standards he does not move to the next level. In my state if you don't pass the test there are so many alternative ways around the requirement it is meaningless. NCLB is written for politicians and no one else.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • teacher

      Jay – no child can be retained, or held back, without parent consent. So, if a parent says no, the student moves to the next grade. Also, a child can only be retained once in elementary school, and once again in middle school. It isn't until high school, where grades equal credits, that a student is truly held back.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
      • Tammy

        WOW! I truly did not know that and I have 4 educators in my family. I'll have to ask them about their feelings on this.

        January 6, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
      • teacher

        Tammy – this is the case in my district. I have taught students with learning disabilities for 18 years. Most of my students have been retained at least once before they were eligible for special education services. In order for them to be in my class, there must be a wide enough discrepancy between their cognitive ability and their performance. That means I have 6th/7th/8th graders who are 12-15 yrs old and who are performing at a 1st-4th grade level. I still teach them grade level standards and they are tested yearly, just like every other 6th/7th/8th grader. They take grade level tests, some of which are modified (reading passages are shorter and only 3 choices for the answers). Even students with severe cognitive delays (moderate-profound Down Syndrome, brain injured, etc.) are required to take state tests. No more than 1% of students can be exempt from taking these tests (in CA) or the district is penalized.

        January 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • Derangedcowbrain

        It's different from state to state, and even district to district. But the pressure is on about passing students for "social" reasons. In teaching middle school science for 9 years, I think we held back maybe 5 or 6 students during that time. Our policy was that if they failed two or more core classes, they would be held back. I didn't happen. They were passed anyway.

        January 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Ben

      Ask most educators and they would much rather hold students more accountable than they can now. This can very state to state but usually k-8 retaining a student is not ultimately up to the school but the parent. Now consider Special Education accommodation which changes and modifies the academic expectations. For example, some students can not be expected to use correct spelling or can not be penalized for handing in late work. Schools are often at the mercy of state laws that make attendance policies of the schools powerless. Most schools and most teachers would much rather have the power to hold students accountable but parents, lawmakers and social apologists undermine them at all levels.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
      • Ben

        I also wish to point out the lunacy of 100% proficientcey. I love having high expectations but some of the students in public school today are not capable say reading at an 8th grade level ever.

        January 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Dave

      For instance, learning the differences between "their," "there" and "they're?"

      January 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
      • Tammy

        or too, two and to

        January 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Iloled@you

      "There"

      January 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Ishmael Portillo

      what a misguided and ignorant statement! My guess is that you have not spent any time in a classroom setting or with "orphans". Go volunteer, see what is like Jay. On top of all the pressures already mentioned, teachers in Florida ( and other states) have to deal with unfair charter schools. These schools are allowed to pick and chose who they want in their school, and "release" who they want if the students in underperforming. So what you get is two schools 5 miles from each other, one with 12% population of free and reduced lunch, and the other with 80% population of free and reduced lunch. We are segregating our kids: good kids-charter, "bad" kids-regular schools. Then we wonder why the regular school does not perform as well as the charter. Please stop talking out of your butt.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • HenryMiller

        So it's "unfair" to give kids who want to, and can, learn a better environment for learning? Would it be "fair" to drag those kids down, shoving them into what amounts to big-kid day-care centres, just because a lot of other kids can't or won't learn?

        This is the Left's definition of equality: drag everyone down to the same level of mediocrity. If some kids can't or won't learn, no kid should be allowed to learn.

        January 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
      • Derangedcowbrain

        No, this is no definition of equality–that is an asinine statement. Everyone pays taxes, so everyone gets to go to school. But there are charter schools that leach money from the system–but they can kick anyone out for just about any reason. After a certain amount of time, those schools get the full payment for that student. And then they often get kicked back to public schools and are now unfunded students that we have to teach for the price of fewer kids. It makes no sense.

        Everyone deserves an education. Public schools work their butts off to do this. But inane laws such as NCLB force districts to force admins to force teachers to teach to a test, and that is not the way people learn. Would you rather study science vocab by multiple choice worksheets, or learn it by doing a lab that teaches the vocab too but also puts the kid in the place of a real scientist. Well, we are loosing the hands on education, and are forced to teach the test.

        I did labs anyway. I made them is such a way that they taught all the aspects of the standards. And I still get kids contacting me saying that I was their favorite teacher because they actually learned and remembered what we taught.

        That's how the left, and the right, and the middle do it right when we are not forced to teach to the test because of misguided laws.

        January 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • awill

      Well Jay, since you feel "teachers" are the problem the I guess it's time for you to become an educator and show them how to do it the right way...that is if you have a "minimum of a BS". Love to see you try and get in a classroom with 20-25 underpriveliged students and teach them the ABC's and multiplecation tables the see how "easy" it is. Ignorant people like you are the problem, not the teachers!

      January 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • ga teacher

      Jay, I am stunned at your blanket blame of teachers. I have been teaching in a low-performing high school for 18+ years. Many students are here because attending school is part of their plea agreement with the courts. There is no requirement in the plea to pass any classes. Many students are here because their parents force them to attend – otherwise, their welfare benefits may be cut. Again, this does not include any requirement of academic performance. Many of the students at my school have embraced "thug" culture – they think they will get rich on the streets selling drugs and engaging in other criminal activities. One of my young ladies, pregnant with her first, said "You damn right I'm goin' on welfare. Why should I work for minimum wage when I can stay home and get all that money." A 17-year-old male student told me "Why should I get a education? You got one, you workin' part-time at a grocery,and you pushing 60." I spend hundreds of dollars out of pocket every year providing my classroom with pens, paper, books, pencils, markers, office supplies; I also help buy groceries and clothes for some of my needy kids in the mentoring program. And then I get to read a "vent" like yours. Blaming teachers for everything is short-sighted and stupid.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • HenryMiller

        There are some people it isn't worth the time or effort to try to teach–and you've made a good case for abolishing welfare.

        January 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
      • JustJ

        @ga teacher... God bless you. Please know that there are some of us out there who truly appreciate you and those like you!

        January 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
      • CAFK

        I totally agree with you. Again, if the politicians could just come into some of the classrooms and sit in on some school board meetings when they are cutting teachers or teachers' aides, they might realize that there has to be a better way. And when a teacher works a second job and buys supplies to teach the kids with, I want to just hug him orher for caring enough to give all that time, effort, and hard earned money. Congratulations on being one of those teachers.

        January 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
      • eloc35

        I worked in a couple different counties around the Atlanta metro area over the past 10 years in special education and I totally agree with you GA TEACHER. Student have told me in detail how thier parents have advised them on how to manipulate the government welfare system. It's crazy. A lot, not all, students are lazy. They want you to do the work for them or give them extra time when they told you a couple days before they were not going to do the work. Most, not all, just don't care about an education and until we can figure out how to motivate them we are in a world of trouble.

        January 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
      • Derangedcowbrain

        Heck yeah Ga Teach!

        You are the reason many kids will go above and beyond. I only worked in low income schools for 5 years of 13. I told myself after college I'd spend 5 years doing that to give back a little. Doing it for 18 years is impressive, and I applaud you and your efforts.

        Now if we could just get people like you to help write the laws and education policy, then we'd be doing a lot better as a nation.

        January 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • John

      What to you mean, you're filing my kid. Johnny is a little genius, just ask me. why, he's as good as any politician at BSing his way through life.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • TeachersRpeople2

      You are confused. I am called into a meeting with administration if more than 10% are failing in my class. If a student does nothing in class (no homework, no classwork, nothing at all) I am asked what I am doing to help that student be successful. Have I called parents? yes. Have you sat with the student? yes. Have you allowed the student to work with a partner? yes .Have you given the student a chance to make up the work he refused to do? yes. Have you given him credit for attendance? no, I had not thought of that, give him credit for having a pulse and breathing in my class, so if I do that, I can give him 60% so he can pass? You get the point, then I would be in trouble with society for passing a student who knows nothing. We are only allowed to have high standards for grades and behaviors as long as less than 10% of your class is failing.

      A "good" teacher is therefore defined as a teacher who passes everyone, helps students score well on standardized tests, and does everything in his/her power to push students through without rocking the boat. A "bad" teacher is one who has high standards that results in a Bell curve for grades, resulting in students needing to repeat a course because those students did not meet the standard, and who teaches that goals take work (as in a work ethic).

      January 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Regina

      I am a 4th grade teacher. Your assumption about what is on the 4th grade standardized test is incorrect.

      First, students in my state begin learning multiplication in 2nd grade. While this may seem a trivial point, I want to assure you that the math portion of the test is NOT strictly multiplication. I challenge you to look up the standardized test in your state. You will see algebra, geometry, etc.

      As far as teaching reading, there is a lot more to it than the ABCs. Again, go look at a test. Students are expected to do a wide variety of things–identify text structures, compare and contrast multiple stories, determine motives, etc.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  60. Jeff Williams

    The simple, inescapable fact is that there is a certain percentage of school children who are not interested in learning. No matter how much time and effort is put into attempting to educate these children, their test scores will not significantly improve, because they just don't care. Unfortunately, this law forces teachers to spend more and more of their time with these deadbeats – time that would be much better spent with the children that are actually interested in improving themselves.

    I understand that the intent of this law was to catch those few disadvantaged children who wanted to learn but, because of their poor background or other environment factors, were overlooked by the system. This is a noble endeavor. However, the reality of the situation is that our teachers are forced to spend time and effort dealing with 999 deadbeats in order to try to catch that one in a thousand promising student who is overlooked.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • JustJ

      And what about those kids with undiagnosed learning disabilities? Those who really do want to learn but can't, for one reason or another? The district that I live in attracts families with special needs because of the quality of education. But these kids tend to not do well on the state tests so the district and the teachers receive a low score. My son has autism and hyperlexia. He did great on the math state test but not the ELA's- because he is hyperlexic he is a good reader but has poor reading comprehension skills. Many kids with disabilities have normal to high IQ's, but try testing them and they do poorly, sometimes because of anxiety, sometimes because they don't understand what is being asked of them. Often, they are not allowed to do practice tests, which is death on a stick to a lot of kids with autism who need to know what to expect on a test and in every area of life! I'm so sick of people placing the blame on teachers, or on kids who just don't want to learn. I know there are some who don't want to, but there are so many more who do.

      January 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
      • CAFK

        Amen to that, also!!!

        January 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
      • Jeff Williams

        Yes, I fully agree that there are some children with learning disabilities, and these need to be addressed with the proper care and attention. In my opinion, it is up to the parents of such a child (with possible support from the teacher) to ensure that this is done.

        However, I still maintain that the majority of the students who do poorly on tests do so because they just don't care. The fact that the NCLB law forces teachers to waste so much time on these deadbeats is a travesty that needs to be corrected. Teachers should be encouraged to spend more time with those students who want to learn.

        January 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  61. CAFK

    I have a sibling that works in the education field in Special Education. I have seen her put in 60 – 70 hours a week and not get paid any overtime or benefits for the time spent. The amount of paperwork per student, red tape and i dotting and t crossing is the cause of most of this overtime. All teachers are having to teach the end of grade tests in order to meet the quota of children passing the tests and yes, that is taking away teaching time for Social Studies, History, etc. The classes have way too many students per classroom and more money is being taken away from education daily. I do not understand how politicians can make all these rules when most of them have never been part of the education system as anything other than a student. All politicians should have to spend an alloted time in the school system and make the same money that teachers make which is minimal considering all that they do. If the politicians would just spend time out there seeing what is going on in this country in regards to poverty, unemployment, people losing their homes, etc., maybe then they could come up with solutions that actually work.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • JustJ

      AMEN TO THAT!!!

      January 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Derangedcowbrain

      Wait, people get overtime for working more than 40 hours a week? Wow, if I did, I'd be making thousands more b/c of the time I put into my High School math teaching. I mean, even if I was paid for that time, not time and a half, I'd be in another tax bracket altogether. Thanks for making this point.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  62. Peter E

    Oh, always the holding teachers accountable debate... because it MUST always be the teacher's fault... They should just be better or get out of the way... Oh, but don't DARE discipline my child or hold him to high expectations, and of course he must be given more special support because he can't get enough attention or support at home, but of course don't you DARE blame the parents. Oh, and you must be available for me to yell at 24/7 until my child gets better test scores, but I also want to pay less taxes so that I can afford the video games for my child...

    January 6, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • nanette

      wait-a-go peter you took the words right out of my mouth...until a politician comes to my classroom and sees what really is going on they should all shut up!

      January 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
      • ???

        Did you mean "Way to go",..?

        January 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Hippymom

      Wow way to lump all Special Ed parents and kids into one barrel. What about kids like my daughter who are BORN with disabilities? We helped her do home work and worked closely with our school. Special Ed doesn't always mean lazy. I hope nobody in your family ever experiences our path. It has been hard yet rewarding. My daughter has many talents that our wonderful school helped develop.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
      • Peter E

        I apologize, my point was not to knowck special education students. I am very well aware that there are a lot of special needs out there that do deserve support in school and by the community at large. The point of my post was NOT complaining about special education, but rather for people to realize all the unreasonable rules and expectations we hold teachers to solely, while ignoring the problems the kid already arrives at school with, whether through their paretns' fault, their neighborhood, or else. Teachers cannot be perfect miracle workers making up for all of society's problems, and yes, a lot of parents do need to self-reflect and start taking their own parenting duties more seriously. Most of what a child learns is still from their parents, not from teachers...

        January 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
      • Hippymom

        Thank you! Obviously this is a sore point with me. I HATE that Special Ed students can drag a school down. Most of them are there for a darn good reason. I live in a very small District where Special Ed can have a huge negative impact. That is a fundamental flaw of NCLB.

        January 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • JustJ

        My district is large but attracts special needs families, so there is a large proportion in our district too. My son has autism, that's why I moved here. I also hate that the program can drag a district down, it's just not fair to those who are doing a spectacular job with our kids!

        January 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Fresno Teacher

      Totally agree!!! Half of the problem is parents not being actual "parents." Old school discipline needs to come back!!!

      January 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Tammy

      I believe there's a name for the disease you're talking about Peter.... it's called "not my child" disease. No, it is "not my child" that isn't willing to learn, it is "not my child" that interrupts the class, it's "not my child" who should take on the responsibility to make sure he/she pays attn. in class, it's "not my child", it's "not my child" fault that he/she believes that it's their RIGHT to an education, it's "not my child's" fault he/she brought a weapon or something looking like a weapon to school and ended up dead b/c an incompetent police officer shot and killed him/her. Take away the "it's my right to have an education" and replace it with "it's a previlege that I earn an education" and I believe that "not my child" disease might be eradicated.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  63. Talgrath

    The biggest problem I have with No Child Left Behind is that it leaves the standards in the hands of states, New York might mandate differently than Alabama; since states do the testing, they can set the bar as low or as high as they want to show they are in compliance. Federal testing would ensure that states can't cheat to get the federal funding bonuses that come with having schools that are achieving and improving.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • JustJ

      YES!!!

      January 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  64. ChildsLeftBehind

    Simple.
    Lower the passing scores to 35.
    Mission Accomplished.
    (It's all the fault of those darned SAT's and junk like that, anyway)

    January 6, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  65. Bob Schaeffer, FairTest

    A new report demonstrating the failure of "No Child Left Behind," analyzing the law's fundamental flaws, and explaining better ways to assess students and schools can be found at:
    http://fairtest.org/NCLB-lost-decade-report-home

    January 6, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  66. yeti37

    I was initially an avid supporter of NCLB in '02 and earlier when states started moving towards standards. However, I've see what it has done to my classroom where i've become a "presenter of information" and less of a teacher. My students are bored because we don't have time to go in depth on subjects because we are forced to move along.

    The 100% passage is, although noble enough, unrealistic. I have students not only from Latin America, but also Brazil, Egypt, Cambodia, Vietnam, Kenya, Iraq, etc. They can speak passable English to be in the classroom, reading and writing it is another matter. Ask yourself, could you pass a high school level test in a language (like Farsi or Arabic) that you have only been exposed to for three years, don't speak at home, and on subject matter that is part of the culture of that country? That is how my students feel when they take a test in English on the subtle issues of The American Civil War or on The Crucible but have only been in the country for a few years. If they don't pass the test, they fail the course. If they fail the test, it counts against the school's AYP. Unfortunately, many of the students couldn't even past the test in their own language because their reading skills in their first laguage are so low. I remind them that I doubt I could pass a history test on their home country in their native language, so they are doing better than many American students are doing who grew up surrounded by this material and information.

    No other country tries to educate the wide spectrum of student background and abilities that the US does.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  67. plmd

    One of the problems I see with NCLB (and with the direction of education in this country in general) is the push for everyone to go to college. Yes, everyone should have the opportunity to go to college, but that does not mean that everyone should go, or wants to go. There are students who would much rather get a job straight out of high school, and I don't see a reason why they shouldn't. There are several good jobs that don't require a college degree. For students for whom that path is better, I would advocate for more high schools that teach a trade (as well as basic academics), thus preparing the students for a job. Putting all students on the same college-bound path, regardless of their abilities or interests is definitely leaving a lot of children behind.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • yeti37

      "The world needs ditch diggers, too,"–Judge Smalls in Caddyshack

      January 6, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • Teacher

        well said!

        January 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • John Gabriel

      Not everyone is college material. Mainstreaming is a disaster: learning disabled or retarded children do not belong in normal schools. Harsh? Perhaps a little but if this continues, the US will be a nation of retards and inbreeds very soon!

      January 6, 2012 at 11:49 am |
      • Hippymom

        WOW- my hope is that you get one of those you speak so disparagingly of in your family. My daughter was mainstreamed for many years. She contributed to her class and taught the kids the tolerance and kindness she possesses. When it became obvious she could learn more in different setting the change was made. "Normal" students caused more disruptions and lack of learning regularly than she ever did in her entire schooling. You sir are a jerk.

        January 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
      • Tammy

        Oh no, that's not harsh at all, it's right on! I hate the fact that a child wh does not have the learning capacity over a certain age is still in school, paid for by our tax dollars! It's FREE CHILDCARE FOR THEIR PARENTS, so that they can work or d things around the house and or to rest. I also have a problem with giving FREE EDUCATION to an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT, but then that's a horse that's been beaten and won't ever die....

        January 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
      • Hippymom

        Tammy that money will be spent one way or another to help and support the Disabled. I do understand your frustration with why certain pupils are in school. That leaves how does the Education System decide who can or can't go to school? Disabilities are complex. People with Disabilities can and do contribute to our society. If you take the time you can learn from most people with Disabilities. My daughter could teach most people a lesson or two on determination or perseverance. She also could people a long lesson in kindness and compassion. She sees everyone as her best friend. She writes beautiful poetry and is a natural with kids and animals. The money spent on her was well spent.

        January 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • Wondering

        @Tammy....how can you make such an ignorant comment, when you have 4 educators in your family? If they share the same opinion as you, please encourage them to exit the field! As a teacher AND a person with ADHD, I would rather have special education students in my class than normal functioning students who refuse to learn. I don't promote ANYONE regardless what their parents and my administrators say. I have high expectations and over the past 18 years I've found that special education students work harder than normal functioning students. And if you're referring to highly disabled students when you say, "child who does not have the learning capacity over a certain age", you need to thank the public education system, because if these students weren't in the public school system, they'd be in the private sector, which would cost the American tax payer twice as much to educate them. Don't kid yourself if you think that the parents of that child would pay all of the expense.

        @Hippymom.....I read a post earlier from you where you stated, "Obviously this is a sore point with me"....don't ever apologize for fighting for your wonderful daughter! You are doing right by her and she needs you to be a "momma bear" for her! My mother spent many grueling hours helping shape me into the person I am today. When I was diagnosed with ADHD, the doctors told her that I would either be a drunk or drug addict and that there really wasn't much they could do. My mom’s mother's response, "to hell with that and your BS opinion!" Bottom line, if it wasn't for my mother, I would probably be dead. I know at times it may seem overwhelming and frustrating, but always believe that you're doing the right thing by your daughter and never stop fighting for her. She'll always need you......even when she leaves the nest.

        January 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • daddieshere

      I agree with you. With that said, I am not so sure the aim of NCLB is to make every child go to college. Remember, we are talking about grade school levels here, not collegiate levels. However, as I mentioned I think you are 100% correct, college should NOT be mandatory. Good thing is, it isn't. I write this as a person who has probably achieved a higher level of education than about 97% of the population in this country. Now, I didn't do it so I can say that I am so much more educated than anyone else. I did it b/c I enjoy learning in the classroom, and I perform rather well, so it suits my personal needs. I tell many people, even my own younger siblings that if they don't want to go to college, they probably shouldn't. They are wasting their time and money. BUT, I also tell them that just b/c they do not need to go to college, does not mean they shouldn't have a plan. I'm all for working straight out of high school, so long as you have a plan. But there is a much larger problem here. That problem is that high school education is not what it once was (I figure around my parents generation). So many people go to college that it has raised the baseline of education. So what only required a high school education 30 years ago, now requires AT LEAST 2 years of college. I'm not saying this is right or wrong, it's just a by-product of more people becoming educated. Also, consider the fact that JUST b/c more people are becoming educated, does not necessarily mean that they have a HIGHER LEVEL of education. An unfortunate result of having such a large number of people attend college tends to "water down" the education. Since more people are now going to college, it requires MORE colleges. I am not bad mouthing all colleges, but make no mistake, I do bad mouth some, and for good reason. With so many people attending college, it has become a business. On one hand, that is fine with me. Business is business, college should be no different. On another hand college is NOT necessarily JUST about business and making profits and getting butts in those seats. There is a MUCH broader goal in such a business, and a MUCH MORE IMPORTANT one. I'll wrap up this tirade by saying, yes I agree with you that one does not NEED to go to college, but if you don't have a plan. If that plan does not work out, GO TO COLLEGE, don't just consider it. Otherwise you WILL have a hard time otherwise finding a decent job

      January 6, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • HistoryProfBaffled

        For someone who professes an education greater than 97% of the american populace, you should know when to indent a paragraph.

        January 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
      • Blinded

        MY EYES!!

        January 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
      • Iloled@you

        Is that a run-on paragraph, Mr 97%?

        January 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  68. rick santorumtwit... America's favorite frothy one

    Santorum would have us in another war faster than you can say "bung hole foam".

    January 6, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  69. alan

    More politicians trying to make decisions about something they have no clue about. Schools are not the problem; sure, everyone, including teachers, administrators and school personnel could and constantly try to do a better job with less. The problem is that schools are just a reflection of the society outside the school doors. Students who come from good homes do well; students who come from poverty do not. US students score HIGHER than any other nation on the global PISA exam...when poverty is taken into account. NCLB is not the answer, better opportunities, a focus on cities, a focus on middle class jobs is

    January 6, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • JP75

      I agree. We must always seek improvement in the system, and ensure we eliminate poor teachers. However, that is not the largest contributor to student failure. Look at the homes guys. If school is not a priority for the parents, if there is chaos at home, what do you expect from these unfortunate kids. I want to see federal mandates for parenting standards/expectations. It is easier for politcians to attack teachers, they are a smaller voting pool than parents.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • RawrtehKitty

      What do you mean kids who come from poverty do not do well in school? Plenty of times a child in poverty has scored well and gotten good grades in school and continued to become something in society, its not just children in good homes

      January 6, 2012 at 11:31 am |
      • zdh1177

        Sometimes, but it's an extreme exception.

        January 6, 2012 at 11:45 am |
      • Jon

        Yea but the overwhelming majority of disadvantaged students don't do well.

        January 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Ollie

      Great point, Alan. It is the truth that never gets noticed, that in the US we take all every student who comes through the door. Current politics would have schools run under a standard business model that in no way can handle the nuance and finesse of Education. Schools don't produce commodities, they handle people and it is never easy, never simple.
      And I have to say – the business model has not exactly been successful for business, either . . .

      January 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  70. Jane

    Let's face it folks.......sadly there are just some students who should be left behind.
    This legislation has wreaked all sorts of havouc in our public schools. Just another example of our crappy government not knowing all of the facts before they take a vote, to satisfy the need to look like they are powerful and doing their jobs.
    The truth of the matter is this.
    1. our schools are failing miserably in most categories
    2. our schools are not allowed to stick to the basics (Reading, Writing & Arithmetic)
    3. most of the students cannot read or write well when they graduate (if they graduate)
    4. teachers time and efforts are not spent teacihing and mentoring. Most teaching and instructing is left up to the para educator
    5. students who do not, cannot speak english are in classrooms with english speaking students. Too much time and money is spent on tutors for these children, interpretors etc. THEY slow down the progression of the other students ability to learn.
    6. Before children can attend school they should BE TAUGHT THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE so everyone is on an even playing field and there is none of this minority, politically correct CRAP!
    7. most children cannot work a simple math problem without a calculator
    Need I go on? Can't everyone see that we are raising generations of idiots who cannot read, write or do simple math? Most college kids entering college as freshman have no idea the responsibilities that go along with attending college, much less how to do the basics.
    We need to either leave some of these kids behind or get the teachers back into the classroom with the basics.
    So frustrating when all people do is complain but do nothing about it & our legislators are too busy being important they can't see even a portion of the picture they create much less the whole one and the impact some of their ridiculous rules / laws actually have on the real people. Those who need education & skills to make a living.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • kvick

      @Jane "So frustrating when all people do is complain but do nothing about it".....do you mean like what you are doing right now. As an educator and a parent, do I get to pick who gets left behind? How about I pick you or your child to leave behind?

      I am trying every day and every semester to train new teachers and teach students what is needed to make them, students and school systems, more successful. What do you do?

      I agree the law has many flaws! But choosing to leave children behind should NEVER be an option! As a teacher and mother of three in the public school system I am too tired to argue with you. I can only hope someone will extend you compasion in your hour of need some day that will make you see how truly wrong your thought process is.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:46 am |
      • Jane

        You took it too literally and don't you for one minute assume I meant otherwise. I have raised a child with special needs who went to public school and did well so be careful what you assume.
        what I meant was there are those children who are holding back the progress of other students! Surely, if you are an educator you can see this.
        I'm not saying deny education to anyone, but what I am saying is that perhaps there should be another option to help all of them be on the same playing field.
        I'm not an idiot but I also have a littel common sense which isn't very common these days!

        January 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • kvick

      @Jane.......Not only am I an educator but a special education teacher who has spent many years running a special education program. I also was a special education student when IDEA was first implemented. My family was told I was one of those throw away children that took up too much teacher time. Not to expect too much because I probably wouldn't graduate. Not only did I, I have education beyond my masters with special recognition for accomplishments. You should also be carful with assumptions. I have seen the worst and best of educational systems.

      I agree we need more options for students. As mentioned by others, we are leaving children behind in droves when we try to make all students go to college. We need Neurosurgeons’ along with gas station attendants; which I am fairly certain do not require the same education. I work with every class of teachers I train to get this point across. I will discuss the educational system with anyone willing to listen.

      I do this because I believe strongly that our education system is in great peril.....but I also believe if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem!

      January 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  71. Barry Feldman

    Aside from the complaints mentioned, it was clear from the start that the cynically-named "No Child Left Behind" addressed empty matters, deflecting as always, the most necessary matter: setting up provisions for the funding, state, federal and private, of PUBLIC Education (not private) in the areas where funds (especially for dramatic class-size reduction) are already clearly needed the most.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  72. Soulcatcher

    No Child left behind in principle I agree with it's ideas, but in practice there is a lot of misuse and misunderstanding. Schools have a tendency to label students as learning disabled or special education to exclude them from the NCLB statistics as well as make sure their disabled programs are fully funded because they fill a "quota" of special ed students. Most schools are not using these funds appropriately because the funds are used elsewhere. Middle Schools seem the most vulnerable.

    Parents: If you feel presured that your child be put into special ed because of a learning disability or evaluation, you have the right to refuse and keep your child in the mainstream and the school has to provide help to that student. Otherwise you'll find your child is in special ed watching movies all day, no homework, no learning just to avoid being listed as failing

    The problem is demographics. If a school is in a disadvantaged area, it will always be failing. Sure it can show some improvement, but if the children are coming in at the same level the problem will remain. The law needs to consider demographics.

    My situation is that I have a 17 year old step child was in Head Start, repeated 1st grade, was in special ed for speech assistance when really his issue was he needed help in Spanish and English. My Latin American wife to be didn't know better because she was learning english at the time and was in her twenties. He really didn't need to be in special Ed he needed tutoring – more than me or my wife could provide. He is a B-C student now in high school in normal classes, but I still get the feeling that the school system failed him.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • alan

      Completely false...as a matter of fact, the opposite is true. Special Needs students are not exempt from ANY exams and their scores are often the reasons why schools fail to make AYP

      January 6, 2012 at 11:16 am |
      • yeti37

        And as more kids are taken out of the public schools to attend private schools (that are not yoked by NCLB), public school scores will continue to plummet. Private schools are not required to let every child in if the school can't meet their needs. Public schools are becoming dumping grounds for those that can't afford or can't get into a private school.

        Ask yourself, would you rather go to a free health clinic or a private clinic? Which do you think gets the healhier clients? Should we hold free health clinics responsible for not fixing people who come to them so sick that little can be done? Public schools are the free health clinics of education.

        For the record, I am a public school teacher with a son in a private special education school where his needs can be best met.

        January 6, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • plmd

      Wow, your view of special education is really negative – and incorrect.

      Part of NCLB actually mandates testing for students in special education. Students in special education are required to take the same tests (with minor modifications) than students in general education (I'm not talking about students with intellectual/severe/profound disabilities). If anything, schools are more reluctant to label a student special ed since the scores from special ed students really can make a difference on whether a school meets NYP or not. Furthermore, I'm not sure why you think that students in special ed watch movies all day, but they don't. If a student has a learning disability, that student is required to learn the same thing as other students, and to be in mostly the same general ed classes, but with extra support (such as extended time). This is definitely not movie watching. I'm not sure what happened with your step son, but he seems to be doing alright now.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:21 am |
      • Mrs. H

        I agree. I am a Special Education Teacher and have been for 26 years. Special needs student learn different and sometime will NEVER be at grade level. As much as I try it isn't going to work because they don't have the ability to be average. What I can do is make them successful in life. They can learn to work and take care of themselves without society paying for them. That is success for them. I will be fired if children don’t lean enough to be average. Through assessments and IQ tests that tell us they will never be in the average range we know that it is not a goal. We strive to get them to the top of their potential but ultimately I fail. I know you should get rid of the bad teacher. FYI one of those students that I couldn't fix was my own.

        January 7, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • plmd

      Also, what alan said.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • soon2bphD

      The reasons schools are failing at such an enormous rate is because special needs and esol (english as a second or other language) are expected to perform at the proficient level just like everyone else in "regular" classes. This includes students who are totally dependent upon the teacher to eat, move around, and change their diapers as well as students who are just coming to america with little english skills. Sounds to me like your isolated incident is something you should have addressed with your child's school. You are the parent, if you feel like you school has failed this child, you should be the first one up there to find out what exactly is going on. Passive parenting is bad parenting. We put too much on the schools when we can do so much more at home. Work together not against each other for the sake of the child.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  73. William Marlowe

    Where does education funding land in the list of funding by the GOP. What number would it be and how many numbers in the list below military funding is it.

    Either educate kids or build more prisons.

    January 6, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Mike

      While I agree that lack of education is a contributor to future criminal behavior, it is a lot more than that. Lack of discipline, pop culture worship, and materialism are also key ingredients. Blaming parents, teachers, and other similar groups for bad behavior was appropriate when all of them had the authority to discipline and hold children (and adults) accountable for disruptive behavior, lack of effort, violence, etc. The media, as well as parents and teachers who bought off on the "people are inherently good and all discipline is abuse" failed liberal social experiment have only increased the problem. To be fair there are also conservative ideals that contribute as well. I agree that money should be spent on education but I don't think taking money away from the military and throwing it towards education will solve anything. It doesn't much for a parent to be "liberally" given the authority to instill discipline, work ethic, values, and life priorities at home. Then teachers and other authority figures would only need to enforce it. For those that want more money to go towards education, it should come from a salary shift. Professionals like teachers, the military, law enforcement, doctors, scientists/engineers/researchers, etc. should all receive a huge boost out of the pot of money that lawyers and celebrities (musicians, actors/actresses, athletes, etc.) make. That is where the money should come from that is where you will instill better motivation in the subjects that our society needs including a more effective education system.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Barry Feldman

      The GOP has no list for funding of anything. They refuse all funding of anything and refuse all means of revenue (purposefully stalling the American economy as an election ploy), whether it would come from already-mandated tax restoration or from economic investment, which has obviously been effective in the inadequatel amounts they were coerced to accept 3 years ago.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:38 am |
      • DC Johnny

        Funny you bring that up, Barry. "The GOP has no list for funding of anything". The past few years, the "list" of funding, otherwise known as the federal budget of the United States, was solely in the hands of Democrats in the House and the President of the United States, yet there was no budget released.

        Why do you think that is? Could it be that they don't want to go on record as limiting their own spending, and that they'd rather just wing it every year, spending money on as many pet projects as they possibly can while continuing unfunded wars and exploding the deficit to record proportions at record pace?

        Keep throwing out baseless accusations. I agree that the current batch of GOP leaders is weak and without substance, but you and your kind, with your blind following and defense of a miserable president and treacherous Democrat leadership, are the worst kind of Americans ever born.

        January 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • thedirector

      If you take the time to look at most state Republican platforms, education is stated only as a right for parents to choose public or private education. This leaves out the disadvantaged (as the GOP would like to do in my opinion) but also makes it very difficult for young people to succeed in our society and then become productive, tax paying citizens in the future. It is an exercise in futility that is causing the teaching profession to get smaller while the needs grow much greater.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • kvick

      You may be interested to know that in the 37 years that IDEA has been governing special education it HAS NEVER BEEN FULLY FUNDED. To me actions speak loader than words. Politicians tote how important education is but rarely back it up!

      January 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm |