"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Beginning the Discussion on Amending or Repealing NCLB

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) gets the ball rolling with a thoughtful list of changes that would definitely improve a fatally-flawed policy. Some of my favorites I have bolded:

Following are the NASSP NCLB Recommendations (view the pdf for a full copy of the recommendations and rationale):

  • The U.S. Department of Education (ED) should be required to review and evaluate all state accountability plans to improve reliability and validity of adequate yearly progress (AYP) data by incorporating confidence intervals, subgroup size, and full academic year consideration in AYP formula calculations. The department also should provide education and assistance to states where gaps and disparity exist.
  • Funding should not be taken away as a sanction for Title I schools that are not meeting proficiency levels and school districts should be allowed the right of funding transfer in year three of corrective action.
  • The requirement that Title I funds be reserved for transportation should be eliminated; funds needed for transportation should be in addition to--not subtracted from--a district?s Title I allocation.
  • If funds for supplemental services are unspent due to calendar constraints, an additional caledar year should be allowed for schools and stated to spend the funding in a more flexible manner (e.g. for other traditional Title I services).
  • All public schools, charter schools, and nonpublic schools receiving federal funds should be required to use the same state assessment and meet the same state criteria for determining AYP.
  • The graduation rate should be extended to within at least five years of entering high school.
  • Students who complete high school with a state-approved exit document should be counted as graduates.
  • Identified special-needs students who complete high school with a state-approved exit document should have until age 21, inclusive, to be counted as graduates as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • The scores of English language learners (ELL) should not be used in the determination of AYP until these students have developed language proficiency, as evidenced by a research-based and state-approved assessment.
  • AYP should not be based on the results of one test, but should be based on the results of multiple assessments and multiple opportunities to retake the test.
  • ?Safe Harbor? should be defined as demonstrated improvement and should apply to all required reporting areas.
  • States should calculate AYP for each student subgroup on the basis of state-developed growth formulas that calculate growth in individual student achievement from year to year.
  • A portion of federal funds, including Title II and Higher Education Act funds, should be allocated for professional development programs specifically focused on local schools in the area of adolescent literacy and in the use of data to improve student achievement.
  • Lack of a highly qualified teacher should not be grounds for litigation.
  • There should be an allowable use of funds under Title II of NCLB to create meaningful teacher mentoring programs that significantly sustain the retention and development of new teachers.
  • The number of alternative assessments that are counted toward making AYP should be expanded to accommodate schools that have high populations of students with cognitive disabilities and more accurately reflect the true school population of students with cognitive disabilities.
  • Special education teachers should have until the beginning of the 2007-08 school year to complete the requirements for highly qualified status.
  • Teachers of students with disabilities, who hold special education certification should be considered highly qualified to provide instruction in grades 9-12.
  • Teachers with special education certification who have or acquire highly qualified status in English, math, or science should receive a yearly tax credit of $2,500 for the duration of service in those subject areas.
  • Teachers who are highly qualified in English, math, or science and who have or acquire special education certification should receive a yearly tax credit of $2,500 for the duration of service.
  • Those teachers entering the special education field who hold a Federal Family Education Loan or Federal Direct Loan should be given tuition reimbursement of up to $17,500 after completing their first five years of service as a special education teacher in a public school.

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