Fact is, I just resent the attempt to wreck my holidays.
There is no possible way to describe NCLB and its associated ramifications without using the word “cluster.” For the longest time, I really did buy into the garbage the Whitehouse was producing concerning wanting accountability and having qualified teachers and making opportunities available for all students regardless of background. It’s all a bunch of shit, no matter if it comes from Kennedy’s office, the Whitehouse or the outhouse.
I thought it might actually be possible to tweak and fix whatever was broken in order to streamline it. Make it better. Like my friends at NCLBlog like to say, “Let’s just get it right.”
If NCLB was a horse, it would have to be shot.
First off, it actively and openly discriminates against students with disabilities at every level. It minimizes IDEA and makes it a second rate law thus rendering IEPs impotent. Second, if a student’s IEP team decides that accommodations are necessary for state testing it can render test results as not being valid thus imperiling the school’s AYP status. In addition, it makes students with disabilities a scapegoat for not making AYP. When a pay-for-performance formula is applied to teacher pay, with test scores being linked to teacher bonuses, NO ONE wants a special education student mainstreamed in their classroom! Special education students were a pain-in-the-ass before, but now they are truly a liability.
But apart from special education, this law is a piece of crap. There is no possible way that we can turn out a population of students that achieve a 97% proficiency rate on any test that is worth a crap. This is a guaranteed formula for mediocrity if there ever was one. It goes against anything resembling genuine achievement in favor of total conformity.
One of the bones the Whitehouse threw to Republican lawmakers was that the states could set their own standards. Again, this was a load of horse shit. If that bore any resemblance to the truth, why in the hell was Georgia sanctioned for its alternate assessment system?
I just was hit with another thought in my musings.
There seems to be this huge fear amongst teacher advocacy organizations (unions) and other advocates for public school concerning vouchers for private schools and school choice. I guess I got there by thinking about how NCLB became an issue only after clamping down on the revenue stream. The idea is that students going from a public school will take resources away from public education.
I’m wondering: why would anyone who likes, values and appreciates school choice and private education push for this sort of thing? As soon as the funding stream opens up to private education, so will the federal regulations. Everything that makes private schools work will be totally destroyed in the process. Anyone who supports private education and yet think government vouchers is a good idea is a total dumb ass. You can not possibly get your cake and eat it too. Unless it is a shit cake like NCLB. In which case, you WILL get it and you WILL eat it! That is the price you will pay for your precious vouchers. Anyone fleeing the public education system needs to be mindful of that. Otherwise, you simply make your nice private school into the den of iniquity that you just tried to escape. If the money follows you, so will the rules and regulations. There may be a slight lag, but these bad ideas will find you. And bind you. THEN where will you run?
Someone please explain to me: how does Washington D.C. become the source for educational reform and innovation for the rest of the country? Georgia routinely ranks in the cellar on various educational measures but they have the virtue of scoring above the D.C. schools as does every other state in the country.
Federal regulation and control represents a millstone hung around the neck around every educator in the country. We no longer can afford to care about the needs of our students because we have to be preoccupied with meeting the needs of the state.
We spent the better part of 45 years defeating the system of Communism. Now someone has the bright idea that the best way to improve education is to adopt a system that has more in common with a vanquished ideology than the forces that conquered it. The ESEA was better when it was ignored. It certainly was a lot less damaging when it was an impotent turd. Now that it has some real stink behind it, it’s time to flush it down the toilet of history along with the ass wipes who created it.