Tag Archives: NCLB

No Child Left Behind Summary

For the past 10 years, The No Child Left Behind Act instituted by the federal government during the George W. Bush presidency. It is has been a controversial piece of legislation and continues to remain a debatable effort toward improving the educational efforts in public schools in America. The No Child Left Behind Act requires that specific efforts be taken in educating America’s youth.

These standards include:

  • Accountability for schools
  • Adequate yearly progress
  • Getting results
  • Closing the achievement gap
While many feel the No Child Left Behind Act is too regulatory without allowances, especially for children with disabilities and of a different nationality, there are many positive aspects to the educational advancement provided with No Child Left Behind. Many states are seeing improvements in overall test scores and student performance.

Accountability for schools
The No Child Left Behind accountability measures require states to set high standards and establish measurable goals to help improve the results of education in public schools. If these standards are not met, repercussions for the school are the result.

Adequate Yearly Progress
Adequate Yearly Progress or AYP reports are given to each school annually to determine each school’s fifth grades level of success based on end of year standardized test scores. If the fifth grade students within the school fail to reach these standards for one year or more, there are consequences and a series of steps that must be taken and may have results such as replacing of teachers or administration members. Each year of consecutive failure can result in more and more severe action.

Getting results
Like the previously mentioned categories, overall test results must be improving each year to ensure a successfully ran school under NCLB. Since the installation of the NCLB act, there has been improvements in reading, math and sciences throughout the country.

Closing the achievement gap
One aspect of NCLB educational development is to ensure that there is not a gap between those of minority races, white students as well as lower class and upper class. The idea is to narrow these class and racial gaps between students by giving all students the same standards to uphold. NCLB requires schools and districts to focus the attention on the students who need the most help and improvement, which often ends up being students of minority races or of a lower socioeconomic class.

The future of No Child Left Behind
Recently U.S. President Barack Obama has announced future changes to the NCLB legislation. The new plan is to focus more on making sure students are ready for college and the workplace that recognize student growth and overall goals toward school progress. Many felt like the previous concept behind NCLB resulted in too many schools setting extremely low standards for its students to ensure the NCLB testing objectives were being met. The new idea is to reward successes rather than low set goals.

Sources: http://www2.ed.gov

Obama Administration’s Handling of Education Survey Results

First, I want to thank those of you who participated in the survey. The response was up 65% from last month.

The EducationBug survey question this month is:

Do you think the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are doing a good job of leading the country in the right direction with education?

The answer choices are:

• Yes: they really “get it.”

• Yes, national standards and the reform funded by Race to the Top are really needed, but we still need an overhaul of No Child Left Behind.

• Yes, the oversight of the for-profit schools is critical, and the other things I can live with.

• No, they’re off-track in just about every possible way.

• No, some things are okay, but Race to the Top and the national standards are a major step in the wrong direction in terms of educational quality and giving up local control.

• No, the federal government should be moving towards less involvement in education, rather than more.

Other (please specify)

We have more than twice as many votes cast as we did when I prepared the halfway report on August 16.

Here are the results:

170 people voted. One ‘Other’ response was deleted for being offensive, but definitely counted in the ‘No.” category, however, it is not counted in the results. One ‘Other’ response was deleted for not being germane to the question. It did not express an opinion on the topic, so could not be counted. One criticized the Obama administrations economic policy, but did not mention schools. Therefore, 167 votes.

Overall, there were 42 ‘Yes’ votes, 112 ‘No’ votes, and 13 ‘Other’ votes, of which 12 were fairly negative and one was reserved positive. The percentages then are:

No—74%
Yes—26%

Compare this to the halfway point, when we had 81 votes with 6 fairly negative ‘Other’ votes and one reserved positive, and the percents were:

No—75%
Yes—25%

So almost identical percentages, even when the number of participants more than doubled.

The answer that received absolutely the most votes was:

• No, the federal government should be moving towards less involvement in education, rather than more.

with 46 votes (27.5%).

A close second was:

• No, they’re off-track in just about every possible way.

with 42 votes (25.1%).

The least chosen answer was:

• “Yes, the oversight of the for-profit schools is critical, and the other things I can live with.”

with 5 votes (3%).

There are differences in the percentages, but these were the identical leaders and losers as at the halfway point.

The positive answer that received the most responses was

• Yes, national standards and the reform funded by Race to the Top are really needed, but we still need an overhaul of No Child Left Behind.

with 21 votes (12.6%).

The ‘Other’ responses were as follows. They have been lightly edited for typos and clarity.

1. No, as an educator the No Child Left Behind Act is just another mandate that makes new rules for the administration enforce on its staff. It needs to be rewritten. if you need help in that – give me a call

2. No. Obama asked all Americans to return to school for a better education. Education tuition increased almost 7% for our state. He removed Educational tax credits and reductions.

Additionally, struggling families with children (like mine) who are trying to do the right thing and return to school are now losing the child tax credits (my family loses $2,000. in 2011 – that is my college tution). Americans are drowning in debt, losing their homes and their jobs and we can’t get a break. A “promise” of not having a dime increase for families that make under 200,000.” was broken a long time ago. America is asleep as the country is being run aground. Check out the new tax laws taking affect in 6 months. Taxes on soda, tanning, PIZZA and even bottled water. America is dying quickly due to this administration. Throw us a line on educational credits and tax exemptions!

3. I can’t wait for the next election

4. Let the people who are doing the job, do their job and make the necessary changes in the system. The government should respect that.

5. need funding to hire the staff for inclusion -and for some a child with an IQ of 60 may never learn like a child with an IQ of 90 -and home environment -kids go to school with toothaches, sick, worried about home, yelling in the morning that upsets them by the time they arrive, hungry because the only food they get is at school -but heaven forbid they comprise more then 3%

6. While there should be *some* overarching accountability and assessment federally, local areas are probably better able to determine the needs of their own students. The money put into administering ought to be moved to educating, and then I imagine we would find that the budget crunch would largely disappear. It is amazing to me when schools cut three teachers or four staff, but leave all the high cost administrative bloat in place.

7. After 10 years in education I have left the classroom and taken my 3 children with me, we will be homeshooling from now on. Until NCLB is recognized as the “Every Child Held Back” program that it is and we stop punishing teachers for going into the most illiterate schools in the country by touting Pay for Performance as a means of rewarding teachers that take the easy way out, it really isn’t that hard to teach children who can read and write BEFORE coming to school and who have parental support; well until that time my children and I will not set foot in a public school again.

8. not so rigid on certification for international teachers who are already certified and brilliant on their country.And no discrimination on application.They are employing a lot of international teachers not knowing they are victimized by private agencies hiring them back home charging them their whole salary upon employment and leaving them destitute and not to be renewed for the next school year because of the probationary certificate for the expensive visa they have paid from hard work. May the government have pity on the poor but bright international teachers that they are hiring for lack of teachers in science, math and sped in the USA.

9. Education is one of the small things in these bad economical times. Obama needs to get the economy better before he tries anything big like education.

10. NCLB needs a major over-haul, less emphasis on AYP and less testing requirements. Students should not be tested every year, every other is plenty. National standards are already in place and working well. Merit pay could work if done right: it should be based on teacher performance and training, not student performance. Race to the Top as it stands will harm students. The biggest change that needs to happen is FUNDING REFORM. School funding should not be linked to property tax. At least half of school funding should come from the federal government. Our schools are not equitable and no amount of reform will help our students until school funding is equitable.

11. I’M HOMESCHOOLING AND NOT LEAVING IT UP TO ANYBODY BUT ME AND GOD.

12. Get rid of the Unions and schools might have a chance!

13. more vouchers and school choice, they are good on charter schools

August Survey Halfway Report

Halfway through our August survey on the Obama administration’s education leadership, we bring you a report of the results so far. If you haven’t yet participated in our August survey, you can vote here.

The survey question this month is:

Do you think the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are doing a good job of leading the country in the right direction with education?

The answer choices are:

• Yes: they really “get it.”

• Yes, national standards and the reform funded by Race to the Top are really needed, but we still need an overhaul of No Child Left Behind.

• Yes, the oversight of the for-profit schools is critical, and the other things I can live with.

• No, they’re off-track in just about every possible way.

• No, some things are okay, but Race to the Top and the national standards are a major step in the wrong direction in terms of educational quality and giving up local control.

• No, the federal government should be moving towards less involvement in education, rather than more.

Other (please specify)

So far, 81 votes have been cast, with 19 people (23.4%) voting for one of the three answers beginning ‘Yes,’ 55 (67.9%) voting for one of the three answers beginning ‘No,’ and 7 (8.6%) choosing ‘Other’ and leaving a comment.

The leading answer is: “No, the federal government should be moving towards less involvement in education, rather than more,” which has 33.3% of the vote.

Second place goes to: “No, they’re off-track in just about every possible way,” with 24.7% of the vote.

The least chosen answer is: “Yes, the oversight of the for-profit schools is critical, and the other things I can live with,” with 2.5% of the vote.

The responses to ‘Other’ include the following (lightly edited for typos, etc.):

• “After 10 years in education I have left the classroom and taken my 3 children with me, we will be homeshooling from now on. Until NCLB is recognized as the “Every Child Held Back” program that it is and we stop punishing teachers for going into the most illiterate schools in the country by touting Pay for Performance as a means of rewarding teachers that take the easy way out, it really isn’t that hard to teach children who can read and write BEFORE coming to school and who have parental support; well until that time my children and I will not set foot in a public school again.”

• “not so rigid on certification for international teachers who are already certified and brilliant on their country. And no discrimination on application. They are employing a lot of international teachers not knowing they are victimized by private agencies hiring them back home, charging them their whole salary upon employed and leaving them destitute and not to be renewed for the next school year because of the probationary certificate for the expensive visa they have paid from hard work. May the government have pity on the poor but bright international teachers that they are hiring for lack of teachers in science, math and special ed in the USA.”

• “Education is one of the small things in these bad economic times. Obama needs to get the economy better before he tries anything big like education.”

• “NCLB needs a major over-haul, less emphasis on AYP [Annual Yearly Progress] and less testing requirements. Students should not be tested every year, every other is plenty. National standards are already in place and working well. Merit pay could work if done right: it should be based on teacher performance and training, not student performance. Race to the Top as it stands will harm students. The biggest change that needs to happen is FUNDING REFORM. School funding should not be linked to property tax. At least half of school funding should come from the federal government. Our schools are not equitable and no amount of reform will help our students until school funding is equitable.”

• “I’M HOMESCHOOLING AND NOT LEAVING IT UP TO ANYBODY BUT ME AND GOD.”

• “Get rid of the Unions and schools might have a chance!”

• “more vouchers and school choice—they are good on charter schools

If you haven’t yet voted, we’d like to include your opinion for our final report, so please take the survey here.

Standards/Special Needs Interim Survey Report

With 11 days left in July for our survey only 32 people have responded to our July survey which asks:

How do you think the idea of education standards applies to students with special needs?

and refers to both students with disabilities and gifted students. For our May and June surveys, we had nearly 300 responses, so there are still a lot of folks who have voted before who haven’t yet voted this month.

As of this morning, this is how the voting stands:

• 78.1% (25 people) voted for: “It should be expected that some students with special needs will exceed the standards and some will fail to meet them.”

• 18.8% (6 people) voted for: “The fact of having special needs—whether disabilities or special gifts or talents—should not affect expectations for meeting the standards.”

So, overall, the voting is more or less 3 to 1 in favor of considering the standards as not actually being a universal standard. Interestingly, I checked on the day after
the survey was posted and with only 4 votes, the ratio was the same: 3 to 1.

• 3.1% (1 person) commented and said: “The fact of having special needs should not affect expectations for meeting the standards IF accommodations have been made for the student to be able to physically and mentally complete the work. The standards don’t change, but the methods of delivery change.” (typo correction)

So this is a contingent vote for the position of standards being universal.

The question raised by this comment of how accommodations are applied to testing whether the standards have been met is an important one. Because the national standards assessment situation is different from the classroom instructional situation and (likely) the classroom assessment situation, educators have remarked over the years that the accommodations that are allowed to be used during national standards assessments (those that are characteristically used with the student) may not apply or be sufficient.

We welcome other thoughts on this issue.

And if you haven’t yet voted, please do so here.

Unintended Consequences

Two education stories that came out over the weekend revealed unintended consequences to education of US law and a United Nations Security Council resolution.

The first story—”A Popular Principal, Wounded by Government’s Good Intentions” (NYTimes, July 18)—tells of the removal of a Burlington, Vermont school principal Joyce Irvine from her leadership position at a school with 97 percent low income children, and 50% foreign-born children, a large number of whom are refugees who have had traumatic experiences of one kind or another.

Although all comers are impressed by the accomplishments of the children from year to year, the testing system under the No Child Left Behind Act—which has meant that some new-comers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan, for example, have had to take an English language state math test after a month or less in the United States, for example—is not adapted to this type of situation.

As a result of standardized tests offered under these conditions, the school scored poorly, and the school district was faced with a choice of fulfilling heart-breaking requirements—closing the school; removing half the staff and the principal; or removing only the principal and transforming the school—to receive as much as $3 million in federal stimulus funds, or forgoing the stimulus funds. The decision was that removing the principal was the least damaging choice.

The principal is so highly regarded that she has been given another job by the school district that removed her and both the Burlington school superintendent and US Senator Bernie Sanders have spoken very highly of her.

The second story—”Standardized English Tests Are Halted in Iran” (NYTimes, July 17)—explains that the UN Security Council resolution of sanctions against Iran as well as US sanctions make it impossible for Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), to accept payment of registration fees from Iran.

As a result, registration for the TOEFL testing program has been suspended, making things more difficult for people whom the sanctions were not intended to affect in this way. The situation may, however, be short-lived because a State Department spokesman has reported that explorations of alternative means to allow the program to resume are under consideration.

Public School Ratings

Since 2002, when the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was signed, the issue of Public school ratings has been a hot topic. NCLB was designed to make available public education more equal in standards across the country. There is much debate on how well this program has worked. However, one thing it has done is provide some standardized testing that at least provides some form of data on how well the students are learning and at what levels. Prior to NCLB there was no data recorded or reported to tell the public how well their students or child’s school was doing in their education. We recently posted an article at educationbug.org with information and statistics on Public School Rating we think you may be interested in reading.

Also while you are there check out the new science project article that has
science project ideas for ecosystems, habitats, and environments. Summer time is a great time to do some of these simple science projects with your children. They may not even realize this is an educational experience if you approach it as just another fun summer activity. (wink wink)