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 Post subject: No Child Left Behind
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:16 pm 
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Somebody mentioned this in Weremensh's thread, and I thought I'd say why I thought it was terrible.

Ever since the law has been enacted, the dropout rate has doubled. Yes, the act holds teachers accountable -- for test scores, not for actually having taught the children anything.

Ciricula are being streamlined to teach the tests instead of actually teaching the children, extraciriculars and arts are being cut, and lots of teachers, frustrated with the forced testing, are quitting, increasing the 'massive class size' problem. Furthermore, students who are honestly behind are being not given the individual attention they need to catch up, and students who are way ahead are being forced to learn the standardized tests at the average student's pace, rather than their own pace. So children who are behind get alienated and drop out, and children who are ahead have their gifts squandered.

The No Child Left Behind Act, ironically, leaves lots and lots of children behind.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:31 pm 
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I have read, in various articles (none recently, so I can't find a citation. I will post if I see anything though), that a lot of schools are fudging their records to make their test scores look higher. They're also discouraging special needs students from taking the tests, so as not to drag the average down. While I think that some testing is a good idea, threatening to cut schools' budgets if their test scores don't improve immediately and without any additional support, is silly and counterproductive.

Over here, we have the opposite problem of America - too much testing. Our children score well on international math and science tests, but they're also stressed out and miserable. They have tests several times a week. They are taught to the test all the time, and learn to memorize enormous amounts of information, often without actually understanding it. They balk in horror when asked to write a story. "But how will that help us pass the final?!" they protest.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 2:39 pm 
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This sounds awful, but I do not support the entire idea behind the "No Child Left Behind" act. This idea is that every single student in the united states of america should learn all the standards. Even developmentally disabled students. Even students who don't care.

When I got a job teaching, the principal told me "It is not our job to teach, it is our job to make sure the student's learn". As I mentioned to a few folks when I quit, the college I went to convinced me of a different idea. Our motto was something like "In the final analysis, the student is responsible for his or her own learning".

I always did well when I was in grade school. This is because I liked it. No matter how much catering and teaching to the test and enforcement of truancy laws there is, you can't MAKE people learn.

So I've decided I don't support mandatory education at all. I haven't completely figured out a better alternative, but I have a sketch of the idea. Free life-time education for all. No, I don't mean college and graduate school should be free, but the information taught in grade school should be free. If a student does not want to go to school, fine, that student does not have to go to school. If, later, that student wants to learn basic mathematics, then they can go to school, still for free.

Forcing students to be in one particular place at one particular time a good classroom does not make. Students who want to learn are obstructed by the behavior problems of the students who do not want to learn. As a new teacher, I got the standard classes. The not-advanced classes. The classes filled with kids who didn't want to be there. And a few kids who wanted to learn but were having trouble with it. And those poor kids who wanted to learn were NOT getting what they needed. Let the kids who don't want to be there go elsewhere, and it will be much easier to teach the kids who do want to be there. And the information will stick much better.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 4:17 pm 
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Elfy about your idea and all, there is one thing I don't understand. What are the students who don't want to learn supposed to do while they don't go to school? I see the long term implications of that idea that eventualy the majority of the people might realize that they have to learn about stuff if they want to do anything in life. But when the plan first starts up will the children who don't want to go to school have any other place to go besides staying at home most likely watching TV or playing video games while their parents work? And would the school system you are suggesting allow students to take specialized courses for a certain career bracket instead of a well rounded whole of skills that are quickly forgotten? Example say a child wants a career in engineering, could they elect to take more science and mathematics classes at the expense of say their arts classes? That would create a society of people more suited to their carrers at an earlier age.

I am not attempting to undermine your idea, I am just asking these questions to see if I can understand it better.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:02 pm 
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Yes, Crake, that's a very valid criticism. As my father said when I told him I didn't support mandatory education "Good idea; and we can just send the kids to work in the factories instead of being in school!"

One of my students stopped showing up. I suspect she turned 16, because I've seen her since, working at a movie theatre.

Is it better for her to be in school, completely ignoring me, skipping classes and making trouble for the administration, or for her to be working?

Honestly I felt awful when I saw her, because I think education is incredibly important. But she has to think that it's important, too, for it to do her any good. Many people will argue that it IS a teacher's job to make student's learn, and that it is possible. Maybe it's just that I can't teach and that I can't inspire.

But, Crake, the answer to your question is that parents would decide. If parents wanted to bankroll their child's lifestyle, then, yes, they could stay home and play video games all day.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:07 pm 
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Okay that makes more sense now. Thank you Elfy. I never understood one thing about the No child left behind plan. How is cutting the funding from schools supposed to make them do better at teaching their students? I see the reasoning that it might put the fear of lost funding into schools prompting them to work harder, but it doesn't really make any sense to me. I have tried to look at condensed forms of it on the internet but it confuses me. Is anyone here well versed in the plan and able to explain the logic behind it?

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:03 pm 
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The logic behind "No Child Left Behind" is to finally drive Public schools under. Thats been the agenda for the left for a long time now. They only want Private schools so the poor stay dumb and easy to control.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:37 pm 
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Tabasco wrote:
The logic behind "No Child Left Behind" is to finally drive Public schools under. Thats been the agenda for the left for a long time now. They only want Private schools so the poor stay dumb and easy to control.

The Left? Or did you mistype, and meant the Right? That's also the idea behind vouchers. Lets give everybody a 2000 dollar voucher and let them find their own school. Only the Right knows it costs 6000 to do a good job, so the rich add 4000 and find a good school and the poor are stuck with underfunded public schools.

Another taxpayer subsidy for the rich, disguised as "Reform" by the Bush folks.

Like the proposed Social Security Reform. More subsidies for the rich. But I will start another thread on that.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:45 pm 
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Tax payer subsidary? (I am a 16 year old high school student, some thign I don't know) What is that like a way for the rich to spend less money on school for their kids while everyone else has to float the underfunded public schools?

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:45 pm 
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elfy wrote:
Yes, Crake, that's a very valid criticism. As my father said when I told him I didn't support mandatory education "Good idea; and we can just send the kids to work in the factories instead of being in school!"

One of my students stopped showing up. I suspect she turned 16, because I've seen her since, working at a movie theatre.

Is it better for her to be in school, completely ignoring me, skipping classes and making trouble for the administration, or for her to be working?

Honestly I felt awful when I saw her, because I think education is incredibly important. But she has to think that it's important, too, for it to do her any good. Many people will argue that it IS a teacher's job to make student's learn, and that it is possible. Maybe it's just that I can't teach and that I can't inspire.

But, Crake, the answer to your question is that parents would decide. If parents wanted to bankroll their child's lifestyle, then, yes, they could stay home and play video games all day.


You know, after hearing about 3 of my own family members (My dad, my grandad, and my uncle.) had dropped out of school when they could. May dad for my prime example quit school then went to work. Tobacco fields, one of the worst poop jobs EVER, you walk around pulling tobacco out of the ground. He quit this job and tried working for a tire place, the same or even worse work, then he kept trying jobs until eventually he realised that he couldn't get anywhere without a grade twelve education. So 2 years after quitting he went back and started all over again and got his grade 12. It helped him out a lot, many people won't hire (even for my dad in the 70's) those without grade 12.

I find it strange that people actually want to got to school when they realise the limits of what they can do, and a lot of people will strive towards a better lifestyle. Nowadays most people just don't care it seems.

Also, how much does it cost to go to school? 200 dollars? I have no clue myself.

And, you don't need a twelve grade education to vote for the right person. I don't see this act as limiting your power in government. Look at Moore (even if he pisses me off) he doesn't even have any collage or university education but he's caused a huge uproar in the US. The intellect aren't the ones that moev the world, look at past presidents, not all of them are ivy league guys, it takes a quality other then intellect to lead and move the world.

I see unfortunatly though that most of the ones that are falling behind in school are diehard liberals, I don't see how this is controlling the populice.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 11:59 pm 
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I think the idea of threatening to cut schools' funding is "free market" logic gone horribly wrong. "If your product sucks, we won't pay for it." --> "If your school sucks, we won't pay for it." They call it "accountability".

Those who market this program to voters have entirely forgotten that children are not widgets, you can't just buy a better machine and crank out better educated children overnight. It takes years. Yes, a lot of public schools are just badly run. I do not know why they are badly run, maybe someone else can educate me on this. But I kinda doubt that scaring them with less funding is going to make all the teachers and administrators leap up and say "Oh yes, we're going to do our jobs properly from now on!" and make everything all hunky-dory.

If they manage to do that, then their problems weren't so serious in the first place. The seriously malfunctioning schools, instead of being fixed, will be shut down. That's where the voucher program comes in. Those who can afford it will take their government-funded private school tuition discount, and send their kids to a private school. (One interesting side-effect is that because most cheaper private schools are religious schools, government will end up indirectly funding religion). Those who can't afford it will bus their kids to further away public schools, which will be increasingly underfunded and ineffective. (Think about it. They'll have to absorb the 'worst' students from neighbouring districts, and get no additional support for doing so. The next year their test scores drop and their funding is cut.)

Public schools will no longer be "for everybody". They will be bare-bones institutions for those who can't afford or don't care enough to send their kids anywhere else, even with the government discount.

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 1:55 am 
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Here's a good site for this thread...

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:07 am 
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A lot of the problem with public schools is that of many other things in life: they're top heavy. Administration is so big, there are many schools with less teachers than staff. This isn't entirely the schools' fault; there's been more and more red tape put in the way of schooling over the years, not to mention the need to ensure there's no possibility of legal action against the school in our sue-happy culture.

Teacher pay is also a problem, because it is a horribly underpaid position. I make about the same as starting teachers around here and I'm not in charge of the future of the species.

For a long time now, public education has been treated as free babysitting; parents don't really care if their children learn, they just want them watched while they work. I'm not sure when parents stopped caring, but I suspect it came in the 80s; now, the parents that do care unfortunately think only short term, where the most viable solution is, indeed, private schooling.

Most private schools don't have to deal with the red tape and legal threats and have not fallen prey to the bloat of administration. They also tend to pay teachers better. Private schools are a very good short term solution for our kids, but it will never be viable for the long term; there are not enough schools nor is there enough money in the education budget to pay for tuition for all students to those schools.

For the long term of the nation, we need to revamp the public schools; unfortunately, no one thinks long term any more.

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:37 am 
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FreakyBoy wrote:
A lot of the problem with public schools is that of many other things in life: they're top heavy. Administration is so big, there are many schools with less teachers than staff. T

Teacher pay is also a problem, because it is a horribly underpaid position.

For a long time now, public education has been treated as free babysitting; parents don't really care if their children learn, they just want them watched while they work.


Ok, so you've mentioned 3 things. Too much red tape, teachers being underpaid, and parents not caring about their kids' education.

1. How much red tape can you possibly have? For what? :P How can you possibly have more office workers than teachers? It sounds really....stupid.

2. If you managed to simplify the stupid red tape, you could shift more money into paying teachers better.

3. I find it difficult to believe that most parents don't care about what their children are learning. Lots of parents too busy to help their kids with schoolwork, maybe, but lots of parents just not caring? Maybe people should have to pass an exam before being allowed to breed. :P

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 12:14 pm 
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I will chime in for just a minute...then disappear again! LOL

I actually find this discussion interesting seeing that my wife is a teacher. She has taught both in the public and private schools. I have noticed some very inaccurate information in this thread.

1. Private schools pay more: Incorrect. My wife was payed almost 1/3 less in her private position than in her public position. This is actually quite common. Private school teachers are payed relatively less than public schools. This is often the case because Private schools have a very limited/structured budget. The only have so much to work with (dependant on the tuition...and if the parents pay the tuition). They do not recieve state or federal assistance. So, they have to have a ballanced checkbook or the school closes.

2. It costs 6000 dollars to send a student to a private school. This is a sum that the public school system has created. It is not true. There are SOME private schools that may cost this much per year (or higher)...but this is RARE. MOST private schools cost in the region of 1,500 or less (again, this is dependant on location...etc). The 6,000 dollar quote was from a public school audit on how much it costs to send one student to a public school. If you read the audit...you may be surprised. A MAJOR part of this funding is to the administration of the public school systems.

3. No child left behind causes teachers to teach to tests, not to learn...This is a silly statement. All teachers teach to test. That is how we judge learning. JUST showing up for a class does not endear one or ensure one learns. Learning is benchmarked by tests...period. A national standard is new, but it is designed to test the average information learned by a student in a given grade. Wanna hear something funny? The "average information" benchmark that is used was created by the NEA. And now they are saying that it is not reflective or the real educational situation.

4. Yes, arts and music are being cut. However, look at your local public school administration's pay. In 97% of all public school systems in the US, the superintendants of the system recieived substantial pay raises. Hmmm...wonder where the money came from?

As a college instructor, I am glad that there is a new national standard. IMO, there are too many college students that are not prepared with even the BASIC educational skills. I can only hope that these new acts will force an improvement to this situation.

I just suggest, before you take the side of the public school propaganda system...look at their information and where they got it. Also, look who helped forge the NCLB act, and then look at who is complaining about it. You will see several of the same names appear in both collumns.

Just my thoughts.

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