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

Monday, April 02, 2007

Stop the NCLB Fast-track Renewal

From Monty Neill:
The Bush Administration and its Congressional allies are trying to push through fast-track renewal of the fundamentally flawed "No Child Left Behind" law without the public debate it requires.

Now is the time for assessment reformers like you to act. Contact your U.S. Senators and Representative today. Tell them NCLB should not be reauthorized unless all these issues are addressed. Ask them to contact the Education Committee and press for adoption of the reforms listed here.

End arbitrary and unrealistic "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) requirements used to punish schools not on track to having all students score "proficient" by 2014. AYP should be replaced by expectations based on real-world rates of improved student achievement. Academic progress should be measured by multiple sources of evidence, not just standardized test scores.

Reduce excessive top-down testing mandates. The requirement that states assess each student every year in grades three through eight (and once in high school) should be reduced to once each in elementary, middle and high school. Over-testing takes time away from real teaching and learning.

Remove counter-productive sanctions. Escalating punitive consequences, which lack evidence of success, should be eliminated. These include requirements to spend money on school transfers and tutoring, as well as provisions calling for the replacement of teachers or privatizing control over schools.

Replace NCLB's test-and-punish approach with support for improving educational quality. This includes holding schools accountable for making systemic changes through locally controlled professional development and family involvement programs. Federal funding should be more than doubled so that all eligible children receive support.

The thrust of this approach is outlined in the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB with details in Redefining Accountability: Improving Student Learning by Building Capacity.

Members of Congress are in their home districts during the first half of April. Take advantage of this opportunity to make your views heard. Personal calls, letters, faxes and visits are much more effective than email. Addresses and phone numbers are available at here and here.

Please take action today. The U.S. will continue to leave many children behind unless your voice is heard.

Monty Neill, Ed.D.
Co-Executive Director
FairTest
342 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-864-4810 fax 617-497-2224
monty@fairtest.org
http://www.fairtest.org

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