WH to change No Child Left Behind to No School Left Behind?

posted at 1:30 pm on March 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

In the No Child Left Behind law built by George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy, schools had to not just offer testing to ensure that the program produced measures on performance, but also required schools to improve in those measures each year.  Schools that failed to show improvement would eventually get rated as “failing,” a status that would allow for direct intervention to rescue the students and force a takeover or even a shutdown of the school.  After two years of Barack Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan running the show, however, the DoE predicts a massive uptick in the number of failing schools, from 37% last year to 82% this year.

So what is their solution?  Lowering the bar, of course:

More than three-quarters of the nation’s public schools could soon be labeled “failing” under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the Obama administration said Wednesday as it increased efforts to revamp the signature education initiative of President George W. Bush.

The projection from Education Secretary Arne Duncan amounted to a declaration that the school-ratings revolution Bush began nearly 10 years ago is itself in jeopardy because the law has become unworkable. President Obama is pushing to loosen accountability rules for most schools but crack down harder on the worst. …

Duncan’s estimate that 82 percent of schools could miss academic targets this year, up from 37 percent last year, was based on an Education Department analysis. …

Obama’s plan calls for schools to be rated on how much academic growth their students achieve. Those that excel would be rewarded, the vast majority in the middle would be given more flexibility to choose strategies to improve, and the lowest performers would face a stricter federal mandate to adopt a stringent school turnaround program.

NCLB has had its share of bad press, and the law itself missed a golden opportunity to provide low- and middle-income parents with a realistic choice in schools through vouchers, a part of the proposal that Kennedy killed.  However, the testing has shown that schools simply haven’t improved no matter how much money the federal government pours into education.  Education spending has quadrupled in real, inflation-adjusted terms over the last 50 years.  And how have our schools performed over the last forty years?  Not impressively.  Here are the average reading scores for the past 40 years from NEAP:

And here are the math scores from the same period:

Whatever problem people have with NCLB, its measurement of progress doesn’t appear to be the issue.  The NCLB contained those required improvements to stop the flatlining of progress in educating American students. The fact that these schools still fail to improve even after boatloads of new spending show that money isn’t the real problem; the existing school system simply isn’t responsive to the needs of parents and children.

Instead of dealing with that honestly, the Obama administration wants to lower the bar to ignore reality.  Their philosophy appears to be No School Left Behind.  Whatever problems people had with Bush and the NCLB, it at least had its priorities straight.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

WH to change No Child Left Behind to No School Left Behind No Wallet Left Unemptied?

The reality.

itsnotaboutme on March 10, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Let’s just skip ahead to the endgame: No Child Left Behind No School Left Behind No Union Left Behind No Marxist President left behind. (With apologies to Michael Medved)

Kataklysmic on March 10, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Employer: “Did you get a year book?”
candidate: “Yep”
Employer: “you’re hired”

Electrongod on March 10, 2011 at 1:34 PM

vouchers, a part of the proposal that Kennedy killed.

Why did Bush give Kennedy such power (when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress)? Because Bush did everything he could to win Kennedy’s heart. This, plus inviting him to the WH to watch a JFK movie, plus naming a building after JFK. Bush really thought he could change Washington’s partisan divide. But Teddy went on to be a thorn in W’s side for 8 yrs. Live & learn.

itsnotaboutme on March 10, 2011 at 1:36 PM

When you have teachers like those protesting in Wisconsin, it’s no wonder 82% will be failing…

PatriotRider on March 10, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Suggest lowering the bar in exchange for vouchers…

Wethal on March 10, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Anyone else think that this may be tied to states blowing a ton of money and effort in an attempt to grab Race To The Top funds instead of teaching the kids?

teke184 on March 10, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Anything done in the name of “The children” is deemed worthy.

No matter the cost.

portlandon on March 10, 2011 at 1:37 PM

“Instead of dealing with that honestly, the Obama administration wants to lower the bar to ignore reality.”

I would call that a form of child abuse…

Seven Percent Solution on March 10, 2011 at 1:38 PM

part of the proposal that Kennedy killed.

Kennedy killed more than that!!/mary jo kopechne

Keef Overbite on March 10, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Schools are always a reflection of their communities. No teacher or school can make up for the social & cultural decay that is the leading cause of educational decline.

Unless we decide to turn around our values, our families and our personal standards things are going to get worse and there’s no federal ‘standard’ or curriculum that can stop it.

rightallthetime on March 10, 2011 at 1:39 PM

WH: Low scores are the result of bullying, and bullying is the result of the mean-spirited Tea Partiers.

petefrt on March 10, 2011 at 1:40 PM

“What do I care, my kids go to private school.”

-PBHO

Bishop on March 10, 2011 at 1:41 PM

the existing school system simply isn’t responsive to the needs of parents and children.

The US Public Education system was developed c. 1950 in response to the need for a trained workforce for the nation’s growing factories. The assembly line paradigm was transferred to the classroom and the result is a conveyer belt of education from class to class, person to person and we wonder why the hell we get the outcomes we get. Children are not Model A’s, they are not widgets–they are souls to be nurtured and trained, not products to be measured.

The tactic of shifting the focus herre by the White House from the child to the school does not, in any way, change the simple fact that education of children is considerably out of reach of the federal government. We are merely managing the pathologies associated with a poorly fitting model. Failure rates, bad teachers, dropouts, substandard reading comprehension, costs etc–the list goes on and on. Teachers begin at a fundamental disadvantage. If you look at any outcomes data, the 2-3 top drivers of educational outcomes are A) PARENTAL involvement B)Economic status and C)PARENTAL educational level.

these are government results, not mine. Thusly, two of the top three factors that drive educational outcomes are PARENTAL–yet, do you hear those arguments coming from The Comedy Team of Arne and Barry? Heck no you don’t, and you won’t because they have to ignore the truth in order to shore up a failing system.

Homeschool, homeschool, homeschool. Not because it is easy, but because it is hard. The results are stellar. Ask shick and txhsmomof6.

http://classicalconversations.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=170&Itemid=284

ted c on March 10, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Which bar has actually been raised with Obama?

Schadenfreude on March 10, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Once we set up a collective and throw more money at it, everything will be fine. ;)

PattyJ on March 10, 2011 at 1:43 PM

law itself missed a golden opportunity to provide low- and middle-income parents with a realistic choice in schools through vouchers,

Pushing education reform at the federal level is just wrong…even if it is school choice. These changes need to come at the state level.

It would be nice to see a gop Prez and congress pass a law that gets rid of the DoEd, and says that all funds that went to it will be given back to the states in an amount equal to their state’s federal income taxes with NO strings attached.

WashJeff on March 10, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Simply cultivating the garden to better grow the fruit they need to survive.

rogerb on March 10, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Despite concerns that home-schooled children will have poorly developed social skills and will not learn at a similar rate as their same-age peers, most studies have revealed the opposite. In fact, most studies have shown that home schools produce superior social and academic results. For example, one study found that 50 percent of 224 home-schooled children in Michigan scored as well as or better than 90 percent of their same-age peers and only 10.3 percent scored below the national average on a measure of self-concept and self-esteem. Another study revealed that home-schooled students generally participate in at least five extracurricular activities outside the home, with 98 percent participating in at least two or more activities.

Read more: Home Schooling – Academic And Social Outcomes – Students, Schooled, Percent, Age, Peers, and Example http://social.jrank.org/pages/313/Home-Schooling-Academic-Social-Outcomes.html#ixzz1GDw0XMnn

ted c on March 10, 2011 at 1:45 PM

How can school districts afford to keep up with the ever changing administrative requirements brought about by political whim?

MayBee on March 10, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Which bar has actually been raised with Obama?

Schadenfreude

Chris Matthews

Dr T on March 10, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Home school…

PatriotRider on March 10, 2011 at 1:46 PM

If there were twice as many people who could afford Ferraris then they would cost twice as much but they would be the same car. If you provide lots of money for something you just make it more expensive, not better.

Rocks on March 10, 2011 at 1:47 PM

However, the testing has shown that schools simply haven’t improved no matter how much money the federal government pours into education.

So, rearrange the furniture and make it look like you’re doing something, and then throw MORE money at it, right Arne?

ted c on March 10, 2011 at 1:48 PM

The paradigm of class-based K-12 education is fundamentally and fatally flawed. The outcomes are clear. If parents want good educational outcomes for their children, then they need to make it so. Uncle Sam cannot guarantee them anything.

truth.

ted c on March 10, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Ease up! Give the teachers a break. They’re busy.

Mason on March 10, 2011 at 1:50 PM

NCLB sucks and it is another example of how the GOP under Dubyah fell down on the job.

My son who is gifted has never had gifted classes in his school because of NCLB.

but millions are spent here in AZ to teach English as a Second Language

unreal

ginaswo on March 10, 2011 at 1:51 PM

get the federal government out of our local scholls. bush was wrong and Obama is wrong. Alllow the states to control schools not the federal government. NCLB was a terrible statist bill.

unseen on March 10, 2011 at 1:51 PM

The WH and it’s inhabitants always think words alone are enough to change things. Hasn’t accomplished much yet. We need to get away from blaming everybody and everything except our educator’s obvious failures. It’s all these excuses that allow teachers and schools to abdicate their responsibilities. Look, nobody guaranteed teachers and school districts the perfect pupil, with the perfect parents and the perfect set of values in the perfect community. The schools have to take the hand they were dealt and find a way to deal with most of it most of the time. No excuses. Just shut up and and find a way. No guarantees that it will all come out as planned, but as long as excuses are allowed it NEVER will.

jeanie on March 10, 2011 at 1:51 PM

http://eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED501498.pdf

Historically, home education has been a primary
method for parents to educate their children.5 Many
of America’s Founders were educated at home
,
including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
Over time, the rise of compulsory education
laws in the United States eroded the prevalence of
home instruction.6 However, since the 1970s and
1980s, homeschooling has gradually again become
a popular method of instruction.

ted c on March 10, 2011 at 1:52 PM

no conservative that believes in federalism can make a case for NCLB.

unseen on March 10, 2011 at 1:52 PM

patiorrider

yes here in AZ we are blessed to have an online, home based public education option through a program called K12.

Thus, I am able to teach him at home with the taxpayer funded books and other materials.

Makes a huge difference we can go as far ahead as we need to :0)

ginaswo on March 10, 2011 at 1:53 PM

If it wasn’t for the “adult” supervision supplied by the schools, they would go the route of the music industry. Can you imagine how great it would be to have the power to call up different lessons being given by different instructors allowing your student to gain the information it the form best suited to their learning strengths. Home/computer based schooling is the wave of the future, I’m just not sure of the specifics yet.

Cindy Munford on March 10, 2011 at 1:54 PM

No union left behind.

forest on March 10, 2011 at 1:55 PM

My kids go to public school. But, they read a lot, don’t get much tv and our whole family travels and visits different places especially historical and educational. They all 3 test way above grade level in all subjects and my oldest will graduate high school a year early. Schools don’t need more money. They need better quality teachers who work on merit and better parent involvement.

hboulware on March 10, 2011 at 1:55 PM

ginaswo on March 10, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Or revisit a lesson that only needed time and reinforcement. Not something usually available at a brick and mortar school. If a child didn’t catch on when presented, to bad.

Cindy Munford on March 10, 2011 at 1:56 PM

There’s just something so twisted about taking money from people in every district, collecting it at the federal level, and then filtering it back through the whole DoE infrastructure so people can see a fraction of their own money go back to their local schools.
OR, as with “Race to the Top”, watch some other district get more money because they paid the most administrators to complete a 2,000 page application.

MayBee on March 10, 2011 at 1:59 PM

“The word ‘We’ is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it.” – Athhem Chapter XI

mankai on March 10, 2011 at 2:05 PM

The initiative, a major priority for Obama, has been overshadowed by fights over the budget, health care and other issues.

Anybody else tiring of the word “initiative”. Apparently it means “government program” aka “spending”. Yet another re-branding of a fundamental principle of liberal, progressive, hope and change, winning the future policy.

forest on March 10, 2011 at 2:05 PM

That should read “Anthem”… obviously.

mankai on March 10, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Schools should be managed locally by an elected superintendent. If they are still around, then they need to do their jobs. Get the feds outta schools and abolish the Dept of Ed. Keep the money in the states to run their own schools.

Kissmygrits on March 10, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Their philosophy appears to be No School Left Behind.

More like, no NEA Dues Left Behind.

lizzie beth on March 10, 2011 at 2:08 PM

“The word ‘We’ is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it.” – Athhem Chapter XI

mankai on March 10, 2011 at 2:05 PM

That sounds like a Barack Obama motivational poster for his life.
Its all about him.

sharrukin on March 10, 2011 at 2:09 PM

While I am not an Obama defender, one of the problems with NCLB was the fact that it had an unreasonable standard. By 2014, 100% of the students were required to be proficient. While this maybe possible in the land of Rainbows and Unicorns, it isn’t going to happen in the real world.

espnjunkie on March 10, 2011 at 2:12 PM

The communities are far better equipped to deal with education than the Department of Education will ever be. They should get rid of it, give it back to the states, and allow school vouchers.

Money ain’t the problem.

sharrukin on March 10, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Barry would know all about spending MILLIONS in schools, and accomplishing NOTHING.

Well, almost. His friends got paid.

GarandFan on March 10, 2011 at 2:15 PM

WH to change No Child Left Behind to No School Left Behind?

More like “No bureaucratic money-pit left behind”

Scrappy on March 10, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Don’t forget Arne Duncan is a Chicago crony. From WaPo 12//29/09:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s legacy as Chicago schools chief questioned

Soon after Arne Duncan left his job as schools chief here to become one of the most powerful U.S. education secretaries ever, his former students sat for federal achievement tests. This month, the mathematics report card was delivered: Chicago trailed several cities in performance and progress made over six years….

and

Why Duncan’s record in Chicago is a problem

(She starts off by criticizing Paige under GWB, but then she takes on Duncan).

When, for example, Obama appointed Duncan in December 2008, he said standardized test scores had risen in Chicago’s elementary schools by 29 percentage points during Duncan’s seven years as superintendent.

Well, not so much, it turned out.

According to one research group that issued a report this year, the real improvement was only about 8 percentage points.

And while Obama said that Duncan had improved Chicago’s dropout rate during each of his seven years as Chicago schools boss, which appears to be true, he didn’t mention that 70 percent of 11th graders still fail to meet state standards. Oh, and about half of Chicago’s kids who attend non-selective-enrollment high schools still drop out.

Another research group found that Duncan’s closure of low-performing schools did little good for students, Anderson reported.

INC on March 10, 2011 at 2:17 PM

More leftist policy from Bush, that Obama is expanding on.

You voted for Bush, nominated McCain, and now considering Romney.

Look only to yourselves for the cause of America’s collapse.

nottakingsides on March 10, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Schools should be managed locally by an elected superintendent. If they are still around, then they need to do their jobs. Get the feds outta schools and abolish the Dept of Ed. Keep the money in the states to run their own schools.

Kissmygrits on March 10, 2011 at 2:07 PM

THIS.
NCLB is just another federal attempt to coerce states into their attempt at a once size fits all campaign in education.
It is merely another failed fad, of which education is full of.
!st of all, the federal govt has no right or obligation to provide free public educations.
In fact, this nonsense of the ‘right’ to a free public education is BS.
You as a parent & community member do have an obligation & reposibility to make sure the youth are educated.
And if a local community &/or state wishes to engage in providing for this, that is wonderful.
Does this mean some states will fail at educating their citizens? Yes. That is why each state is a sovereign entity.
Guess if people want a good ed for their kids, they’ll live somewhere where that is possible, or get engaged in politics & make it happebn there.
NCLB’s expectations are that EVERY public school child will eventually pass all of the state exams 100% of the time. This means that we must lower the bar so low as to make sure ALL kids pass.
Obviously this is stupid. NCLB will never work bcs that will always be impossible.
Tell me how many of you can do everything perfect 100% of the time all the time.
The testing requirements via the Feds have only resulted in private companies jockeying (through lobbyists influencing state legislators) to have their test picked at the state assessment.
This is big $$.
Here in ND I know for a fact that the state assessment does not test on the standards that we are requried to teach.
And since no one tells us what is on the test, we do not know what to teach.
And yet we are told to teach to the state standards.
So WTF am I supposed to do here?
This is where we have come full circle in the insanity of standardized testing. We are forced to teach to the test.
So are you all saying, who support this, that failing a test means you haven’t learned anything? That oyu are stupid?
That you don’t know anything that you were taught?
Give me a break.
We all know that isn’t true.
There are so many variables that contribute to whether a kid has learned something or not that you cannot scientifically measure progress in learning with any sort of reasonable accuracy.
The closing of a school or the hiring & firing of a teacher or administrator should never depend solely upon how good a kid does on a test.
That’s effing retarded.
Local control. Abolition of the Dept of Ed.
Let states do this on their own.
Get the federal govt out of our kids’ education.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Given the current tidal wave of anti-PEU activity across the country, this new plan should more rightly be titled:

No Teacher Left Behind which will provide, at taxpayer expense, compensation to members of teachers unions for benefits lost under the reduction of Collective Bargaining features.

BobMbx on March 10, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Home schooling and computer studies are fine, but in the world as we know it now, it’s no universal substitute for teachers and classrooms. Not everyone wants to do it, not everyone can do it and not everyone will do it even with opportunities provided.Totally local funding for schools is a good idea in theory but it would lead to the inevitable law suits arguing that so and so in this town is getting a better/worse education than the greener/less green pasture next door. There is only one answer as I see it and even that is far from perfect. Our schools have to develop effective ways to teach most of the kids who come through their doors.(there will always be those who do not or cannot learn but these should be a tiny percentage)Those schools, teachers and administrators who have found ways to deal with the toughest of our learners should be used as resources–and there are some. No excuses, educate or get off the pot. We praise Asian students and schools but fail to note that these deal with some of the toughest, poorest and least motivated as well as the rest. If they are doing it, so can we. One change that would go a long, long way towards this is to free teachers and schools from law suits except for only the most egregious offenses. (by the way, the Unions provide teachers with lawyers for this litigation which is one reason the unions will remain viable).

jeanie on March 10, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Schools can already opt out of federal $$ & tell the Feds to shove it by working within their own locally derived budget.
All of these federal monies in the form of grants & crap, or like Title I funds-spend it ALL or give the rest back & then get less next year(gee, what a recipe for fraud & waste!), are nothing but an invitation for abuse of funds & massive waste.
I know for a fact our local school could live on its own little budget from the county & state funds.
Bcs we then would not have to comply with all of the nonsensicle federal rules that are tied like a nasty moldy carrot to the end of a stick.
These rules cost us more $$ to comply with them than any benefit we get.
Now if the state wants to impose its own rules, then it has that right. Bcs the PEOPLE of that state will be involved in the legislative process that those rules spring from.
Gee, what an effing concept.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 2:27 PM

A reader above wrote:

No teacher or school can make up for the social & cultural decay that is the leading cause of educational decline

That’s not true. Many schools (e.g. Harlem Success Academy) are doing that right now. The poorest minority kids are getting better test results than the richest public school white kids. The main difference is expectations and strict curriculum. These great minority schools are graduating 95%+ of ALL their students at a genuine college-prep level. Importantly, these at-risk minorities have to be enrolled in these academies at elementary age (not H.S.) and NEVER be allowed to fall behind their peers. Especially for poor minorities, once you fall a month or two behind, let alone a year, you’ll be a drop-out statistic come high school.

Only 2-3% of applicants get in some of these schools, but they’re out there. (cf. waitingforsuperman.com)

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 2:28 PM

If I had the freedom in how I teach my students, they would learn.
Bcs I would be able to arrange them into similar performing groups in order to challenge them, even maybe separate them by race if I had to or by sex, for instance, bcs boys learn better when there are no girls in the room & vice versa.
But I can’t do that. So I have to use failing methods bcs the feds say so.
The new fad coming is CORE STANDARDS.
This = further lowering of the bar.
The feds want to force all states to teach the same exactl things in the same ways at the same times of year all over the nation.
So this means that times tables are taught for X amonut of time during Y time of the year.
And if a student takes the standardized test & passes proficient, it does not matter if they ever do their HW or projects etc (no matter what the grade is in the class)-they will advance onward.
Think this is a good idea?
Think again.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 2:30 PM

While I am not an Obama defender, one of the problems with NCLB was the fact that it had an unreasonable standard. By 2014, 100% of the students were required to be proficient. While this maybe possible in the land of Rainbows and Unicorns, it isn’t going to happen in the real world.

espnjunkie on March 10, 2011 at 2:12 PM

This. Under NCLB, it guarantees that the school failure rate in 2014 will be 100% of schools.

AngusMc on March 10, 2011 at 2:33 PM

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Don’t you realize that even in culturally & morally decayed systems that there are people fighting to improve themselves & do well, despite the atmosphere?
Not all minorities are lazy & stupid.
These schools are getting the best of that bunch bcs they can cherry pick their kids.
What about the rest of them who drop out etc bcs they have parents who don’t give a crap?
The cultural decay HAS led to poorer perfomrnace etc.
Notice how young people now need constant praise, are not as hard working in general etc than their predecessors.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Under NCLB, it guarantees that the school failure rate in 2014 will be 100% of schools.

AngusMc on March 10, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Yes.
What I said above, too.
Good intentions.
But that nasty road to he!! is paved mightily with them.
Get the feds out of our schools.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Another:

While I am not an Obama defender, one of the problems with NCLB was the fact that it had an unreasonable standard. By 2014, 100% of the students were required to be proficient. While this maybe possible in the land of Rainbows and Unicorns, it isn’t going to happen in the real world

It isn’t going to happen in the real world of unionized teachers, but it is already happening in many magnate schools and private schools, and in roughly 20% of charter schools.

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Instead of dealing with that honestly, the Obama administration wants to lower the bar to ignore reality.

Isn’t that, in the final analysis, the guiding principle of how Obama governs?

Socratease on March 10, 2011 at 2:36 PM

They pick by lottery, not by cherry-picking high achieving applicants. That said, anyone seeking to escape the public school debacle is ahead of the game to some degree.

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 2:38 PM

One change that would go a long, long way towards this is to free teachers and schools from law suits except for only the most egregious offenses. (by the way, the Unions provide teachers with lawyers for this litigation which is one reason the unions will remain viable).

jeanie on March 10, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Agreed.
That is the only reason in a right to work state, that I am a union member.
I can be easily sued by someone & lose everything I own trying to defend myself.
It happens a lot in this profession.
The union provides me with free legal representation if I’ve done nothing wrong to deserve a lawsuit, even if the district drops me like a hot potato.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 2:38 PM

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 2:38 PM

So if they refuse to learn & do their work, do they get to stay?

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 2:38 PM

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Now I guess I missed this lottery system you speak of regarding these schools or academies.
But honestly, if a kid has parents who refuse to parent & the kid’s a mess, how can you make that kid learn when they refuse?
You will never have educational success unless all parties do their best.
Please understand, though there may be a lot of bad teachers out there, I would say that there really are more good ones than bad.
But we get the shaft bcs the odds are stacked against us in the 1st place.
A large majority of the parents in many places are univolved in their kids’ education & actually expect the teacher to force their kids to learn.
You cannot make a horse drink. You can only provide the opportunity.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Silly criteria in the first place. On a scale of 1 to 100 ever improving year after year can not happen. You eventually run out of room on the upper end of the scale. Where does one go after all the kids are proficient?

WiseOlBird on March 10, 2011 at 2:46 PM

So if they refuse to learn & do their work, do they get to stay?

According to the (admittedly amazing) statistics, the drop-out rate for high-school is only 5%, over four years, cumulative. Good elite public high-schools are often 10%-20%. In Detroit it is over 50%, and even higher if it’s cumulative from middle-school through high school.

In other words, the statistics aren’t padded in regard to 99%+ students being proficient in the basics per current standards. So yeah, there are drop-outs and if you don’t work hard you’ll be one of them, but they are accounted for (less then 5% cumulative for some of these great schools).

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 2:53 PM

WiseOlBird on March 10, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Exactly.
Why are kids held to an ever increasingly upward standard of proficiency?
And not all people are capable of being proficient readers, spellers, or in mathematics, or writing, etc.
This iwll do nothing but create a class of people who can pass a test, but can’t actuallly do a damned thing.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 2:55 PM

How can you make a kid learn?

There’s surprisingly few who don’t want to learn when the school and teachers are doing it right. But yes, the kid has got to be learning that hard work pays off from elementary age on.

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 2:56 PM

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 2:53 PM

I’m not arguing with you on how great these places might actually be.
I would like to know why they are so great in the 1st place.
And they probably have some advantage other places do not.
It could simply be the advantage of having higher quality teachers.
Or it could be the advanatage of not having to get caught up with stupid time consuming rules etc.
As far as measuring proficiency, I highly doubt that these standardized tests states use (of which there are many) are all equal in their capacity to measure any kind of ‘proficiency’.
Tests can only tell you a little something about an individual’s learning.
They do not actually tell you how proficient someone is in a subject.
Which is why standardized testing is nothing but a scam out for $$$.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Please understand, though there may be a lot of bad teachers out there, I would say that there really are more good ones than bad.

I actually agree. If we could get rid of all the bad and just replace them with mediocre, the U.S. would shoot near the top of international rankings.

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 3:01 PM

But honestly, if a kid has parents who refuse to parent & the kid’s a mess, how can you make that kid learn when they refuse?

Then you bend over backwards, do everything you can, work on it tirelessly to try to fill in the gap, make up the short fall. Maybe it won’t always work, but if you throw in the towel before you even make the Herculean effort required then it’s the educator who is the failure and that’s where the ‘blame’ lies. Too often these days educators make the assumption you made and if they do they are defeated before they even begin(IF they begin at all). Every fledgling teacher needs to be brain washed, imbued, saturated with the mission to do what ever it takes to educate the kids in their charge. The unions COULD be big allies on this front if they weren’t so obsessed with their
money and power. As it is, they are part of the problem.

jeanie on March 10, 2011 at 3:06 PM

No Child Union Member Left Behind

Hening on March 10, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Why do liberals hate Kennedy so much!?

rihar on March 10, 2011 at 3:27 PM

I would like to know why they are so great in the 1st place.

In part: Some unique factors are having a whole faculty and administrators who are all on board with “teaching to the test (standards).” To have good teachers who enthusiastically teach a rigid curricula is not common. There also seems to be quality control (Six Sigma-like) in teaching methods: continually adopt to what is working for kids (around the U.S. and world) the most, for every topic of every subject, even if it is not your first teaching style/personality. Have insanely high expectations that no one EVER falls behind; preach it, believe it and act accordingly. This means a network of tutoring volunteers, and serious experience in social work too. Parent communication and support is essential of course. By the way, one of the standards in Calif. is not only for high (avg.) standardized test scores, but for passing approved curricula that qualifies for CA four-year colleges–these schools do that, so it’s not just padding test scores.

Finally, if I were a teacher, I instinctively wouldn’t want to teach to a test either; but if it is a good test, then there’s really nothing wrong with teaching to it.

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Don’t forget Arne’s “credentials.” He tutored some kids when he was in high school. He has an undergraduate degree in social work. Then he played basketball in Australia. As if by magic, he somehow he got a job working for the Chicago Public Schools. He had political clout. That’s it.

MayorDaley on March 10, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Schools are testing the wrong stuff.

They need to ask more stuff about American Idol, Iron Man, Harry Potter movies…

And games, including Warcraft, especially for boys…

Then give extra credit for the weigh-in at testing time…

drfredc on March 10, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Finally, if I were a teacher, I instinctively wouldn’t want to teach to a test either; but if it is a good test, then there’s really nothing wrong with teaching to it.

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 3:27 PM

I would agree. Except for the fact that if you teach, then you udnerstand that there is no test in this world that definitevely can describe what someone knows regarding a subject.
In fact, my highest performers on tests in HS are usually girls & a few boys.
When it comes to actually being able to apply the knowledge, they often cannot perform very well & it is often the low test perfomrers that excel in applying the principles of what they learned.
So even though I’m only a HS science teacher who’s been doing this for a relatively small amount of time, ~8 yrs, this pattern is so glaringly obvious that it really puzzles me why there are people who think testing is the ultimate way to measure student learnign by trying to tie schoolwide perfomrance to them as well as teacher salaries.
This kind of system only churns out test takers.
And not all of the people can actually do anything constructive.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Sounds like the Obama policy, predictably, is CNEAA: Cover the NEA’s A**.

American Elephant on March 10, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Then you bend over backwards, do everything you can, work on it tirelessly to try to fill in the gap, make up the short fall. Maybe it won’t always work, but if you throw in the towel before you even make the Herculean effort required then it’s the educator who is the failure and that’s where the ‘blame’ lies. Too often these days educators make the assumption you made and if they do they are defeated before they even begin(IF they begin at all). Every fledgling teacher needs to be brain washed, imbued, saturated with the mission to do what ever it takes to educate the kids in their charge. The unions COULD be big allies on this front if they weren’t so obsessed with their
money and power. As it is, they are part of the problem.

jeanie on March 10, 2011 at 3:06 PM

I do bend over backwards.
You still cannot make a kid learn.
BTW-do you teach?
I will say that if the feds go out of things & we were allowed to let people fail & make parents take responsibility for the learning of their children, my job would be much easier as well as make me more effective at teaching.
Bcs if a kid is in class & is making learning impossible for the others, I could ban them from the room.
IEPs would be a thing of the past.
I’m not sure if you though I was throwing in the towel with my comment, but that’s what it sounds like from the sermon I got in your comment.
I never throw in the towel.
I’m always looking for & am for trying anything to help a kid.
But the kid has to actually show up, get engaged, come to school wanting to do something.
And I can make it as entertaining as allget out, but in the end, it is up to them.
But it’s also pretty easy when you’re not actually involved in the process, to give all kinds of advice on how to do something.
It’s another to actually do it yourself.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 3:54 PM

If we could get rid of all the bad and just replace them with mediocre, the U.S. would shoot near the top of international rankings.

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 3:01 PM

I disagree. The US cannot compete with these other countries for various reasons including:
Many countries cherry pick their students. They don’t educate everyone who’s of age, nor do they test everyone.
Another reason is culture/morality.
Another is how involved is the govt & how is it involved.

Seriously, there is no way you can straight up compare our ‘students’ to other countys’ students.
We are forced to educate EVERYONE.
So those who cannot speak English are given tests in English to take.
Kids who may be mentally retarded are given the same test as a kid who is not.
Kids who cannot even read for whatever reason are given the same tests as those who can.
So already that international comparison is crap.
I will say that in general, it seems many American students fall below the bar when compared to like comparisons on the other side.
But a lot of this has to do with culture.
Teachers in India, from what I have learned from students from India, are pretty lazy bcs it’s a govt job. So the public school kids there succeed bcs they want to.
Many people in India send their kids to private school 7 get better results.
If a parent is paying to send their kid to school, then it is likely that parent will be more involved in their kids’ educations.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 4:02 PM

No teacher’s union left unprotected.

AnotherOpinion on March 10, 2011 at 4:02 PM

G. Charles on March 10, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Don’t get me wrong. I agree with all the things you are saying.
But the reality is that when govt monies are used to produce something, you will usually always be disappointed.
Too much fraud & waste is involved.
And in our country, very few people are willing to take leadership positions.
Bcs of that, administrators are usually lazy & incompetent.
Lazy & incompetent admins overseeing teachers invites problems.
I know. I work in a place with those kinds of admins.
I am a competent enthusiastic teacher who strives to be professional & hold students accountable while being realistic of their expectations as well as demanding of them.
And I catch hell for it. A lot.
I have been pressured to change grades, etc & I refuse to do this.
I’ve been pressured not just by the admin, but by parents.
I refuse.
There have been cases here where the admin (not mine) has changed the grades of a teacher’s students.
That will never happen to me bcs I will fight it.
But the pressures are there.
Who wants to work in environments like this?
When no one steps up to bat for you (admins, fellow teachers, parents) you get tired of fighting & you give up.
I think if the feds got out of ed & made local communities more responsible for their kids, we’d have way better results.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 4:08 PM

We praise Asian students and schools but fail to note that these deal with some of the toughest, poorest and least motivated as well as the rest. If they are doing it, so can we.
jeanie on March 10, 2011 at 2:26 PM

I find it interesting, after dealing with ‘smart’ Asian students that they often fail to perform in the area of critical thinking.
The Asian students can get really good grades & take tests & get great scores.
But when you ask them to show you why they know what they know & ask them to apply it to reality, they often fall short.
What good is knowing stuff if you cannot do anything with it.
I’m just relating my experiences here.
People really need to evaluate their opinions regarding ‘tests’.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 4:12 PM

But it’s also pretty easy when you’re not actually involved in the process, to give all kinds of advice on how to do something.
It’s another to actually do it yourself.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 3:54 PM

This just reminds me of when we’ve had folks come to our brandings as guests.
We’ve had some ‘greenhorns’, ‘dudes’, if you will, offer all sorts of advice & criticism on how to castrate, or work a cow, or rope a calf, or how to ride your horse ‘better’.
They somehow think bcs they read it in a book, heard it from someone who was an ‘expert’ etc. that they are all-knowing on the subject.
When in reality, it actually takes TALENT & experience coupled with wisdom & knowledge to do these things that we do with our cows.
Even people who have been doing this stuff their whole lives can be more worthless than someone fresh off of the streets who has never laid eyes on a cow.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 4:16 PM

“… because the law has become unworkable.”

And…… the whole Department of Education + NEA + AFT = workable?

Over 40years, quadrupling education spending, for no significant change in test performance???

Where in the private sector exists a company with such dismal production?

Of course the teachers unions do what they do for the children… because they tell us, it must be so!

Break apart the Department of Education.
Privatize schools especially in inner cities.

Bust the NEA & AFT! After all, if it wasn’t for their monopolistic influence in education, and their union money going to elect Democratic slobs like Ted Kennedy, there just may be more competition for creating a system which produces academic success…

However, if we gauge success based upon the civic stupidity of today’s students and their re-education into tomorrow’s Socialists… then I think that all of that money was well spent.

Danny on March 10, 2011 at 4:17 PM

I heartily recommend this book.
Ed Lemmon knew a lot about working cows & dealing with livestock in general.
There are stories about the people he came in cotnact with who didn’t know their a$$ from a hole in the ground, but professed to know all about livestock.
Good book.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Badger40

I was going to comment on this but it seems that you’ve read my mind. My wife is a teacher and she hates NCLB for the very reasons you’ve stated. I’m not sure if you touched on this, but it’s also required that ALL students read on their grade level, even those with a mental retardation. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many mentally challenged kids that can do that. They might be able to read, but not on a 5th grade level when they are in the 5th grade. It’s very frustrating.

Torch on March 10, 2011 at 4:37 PM

NCLB does not, in itself, accomplish anything.

What it does do is allow the voters to measure the effectiveness of schools.

Without NCLB, we’ll be totally in the dark…and “educators” and politicians will be able to more easily claim that a few more boatloads of money will “fix” our education system.

Eliminating or neutering NCLB is the same of CYA action as when the post office stopped cancelling mail with a date stamp: it just makes it harder for the public to see how badly the government is performing, and it makes it nearly impossible for the government to improve.

You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Don’t blame the yardstick for the schools’ lack of progress!!!

It appears that Obama wants to turn NCLB into another Democrat money laundering operation.

landlines on March 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Torch on March 10, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Isn’t it terrible?
I mean, I don’t really deal with all of this testing crap too much bcs I’m science at the HS level. And for now, science is not used to calculate AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress).
So unfairly, those who teach math & English are only being targeted by these tests.
The PE teacher, etc is not being scrutinized bcs of the test.

landlines on March 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM

All that know me here understand what kind of person I am & where I stand on education.
I demand excellence & accountability.
And teachers should be held accountable for their abilities & actions.
However, you are extremely ignorant if you think that the sole measure of a school’s progress, or a teacher’s effectiveness can be calculated by a ‘test’.
Do you understand that these tests are developed by private companies vying for tax dollars?
Do you understand these tests may, or may not be effective, and that not every state uses the same test?
Do you understand that when private companies vie for tax dollars that fraud & waste WILL be involved?
Do you understand that a test is only ONE tool with which to assess someone’s knowledge regarding a subject?
Nevermind.
I think there are many who just don’t get that.
Not all fo us teachers are bad eggs & many of us do really know WTH we are talking about when it comes to this stuff.
If you have never had to teach other people’s kids in a puclib setting, then perhaps you ought to take these things into consideration before forming an ignorant opinion.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Vye? WTH-ever.
I’m tired.
Too tired for spelling.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 5:33 PM

It appears that Obama wants to turn NCLB into another Democrat money laundering operation.

landlines on March 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM

BTW-it already is.
Note NCLB is nothing but a way to lower the bar so that EVERYONE, whether they can read or not, think or not, etc. will pass the ‘test’.
If the voters erroneously think that their kid passing some standardized test means that they are ‘smart’ or ‘proficient’, then the voters need to also be educated.
Bcs that is not what that necessarily means.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 5:35 PM

it just makes it harder for the public to see how badly the government is performing, and it makes it nearly impossible for the government to improve.

landlines on March 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM

The govt will NEVER be able to make sure education happens & $$ is well spent.
Only the individual can do that in their local community.
Only the STATE is really ever going to be able to do that in any meaningful way.
And in the end, when you are spending someone else’s $$, it’s never the same as spending your own $$.
Too many people are so easily irresponsible with other people’s $$.
Bcs they are lazy & have no scruples & they didn’t earn it in the 1st place.

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Schools are always a reflection of their communities. No teacher or school can make up for the social & cultural decay that is the leading cause of educational decline.

Unless we decide to turn around our values, our families and our personal standards things are going to get worse and there’s no federal ‘standard’ or curriculum that can stop it.

rightallthetime on March 10, 2011 at 1:39 PM

That’s too complicated. Just blame the teachers.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 10, 2011 at 7:04 PM

That’s too complicated. Just blame the teachers.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 10, 2011 at 7:04 PM

The Bandwagon still has room!

Badger40 on March 10, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Doctors, lawsyers, cops…we need a show about teachers. Written by teachers and students. We can then show our audience about the terrible waste that goes on in education, be it useless paperwork, misspent funds, lousy but entrenched teachers, young enthusiastic teachers burning out, administrators who use teachers like cheap tools, parents who mirror their brat children, good kids, bad kids, kids who don’t care, kids who sleep in class because they’re the sole breadwinner of the family or because they’re raising their siblings, kids with weaponry, adults who snap, teachers causing drama, a superintendent with multiple mistresses, high kids, drunk teachers, no maintenence or supplies, and sometimes the kid who comes back and says thank you for making their college life easier or who says they spent the whole night thinking about what questions you raised in their brain.

In truth, a lot of that money and the supplies are a crutch. They make life easier, like a computer and projector, or they make life harder, like busy work from the district that merely justifies someone’s job. As much as I hate the pressure it puts on teachers, it really is the teacher who makes the most difference. The kids know the good teachers from the bad ones. All you have to do is ask a few of them.

And the kids should be asked more often. We have teachers who are good at gaming the system and schmoozing with administrators, so their bad habits like buying liquor for kids or never doing anything in class aren’t noticed. While yes, some students will say that the bad teachers are wonderful because they don’t have to work, I think you’d find that the majority of kids are eager to exchange bad teachers for good. Customers can give feedback on bad products or service. I’ve had evaluations from my students because I’m a dual credit instructor with the local community college. Most of the kids can be trusted to give an accurate review. We complain about the kids, we worry about the kids, we pretend to care what is best for the kids, but we never seem to sit down and ask the kids what they think. Get ‘em to open up and you’ll find that they can be brutally honest and candid with both you and themselves.

kc-anathema on March 11, 2011 at 5:09 AM

kc-anathema on March 11, 2011 at 5:09 AM

Excellently put.
I half-jokingly mentioned yesterday to my 9th & 10th graders how if they weren’t nice to me, I was going to go & apply for the open position at the school down the road.
They were horrified & begged my not to.
I joked & said maybe they’d get somebody who was easy on them.
But they were still horrified & pleaded no.
I guess I was a little surprised at the emotion that would evoke in them.
Maybe I am doing something right after all.

Badger40 on March 11, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Arne Duncan IGNORED students getting ABUSED when he was the HEAD of Chicago’s school system. The original articles has been deleted but here are two the list the low lights- Arne Duncan is responsible for letting teachers get away with abuse-

http://www.joannejacobs.com/2009/02/chicago-kids-report-teacher-abuse/

http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu/archives/282703.php

right wing chicky on March 11, 2011 at 5:48 PM