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

Saturday, May 19, 2007

March, Write, Boycott, Act Up to End NCLB Child Abuse

As Senator Kennedy and Congressman Miller lead their respective committees in considering right now the future of NCLB, it is imperative that all concerned either call or write a snail mail letter (addresses and phone numbers here) this weekend to these very powerful individuals calling for repeal or at least these changes:

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.

After that, get some friends together as did Jane Fendelman, and take to the streets in front of your Board of Education or your neighborhood school or your Congressman's district office:
The Arizona Republic
May. 16, 2007 05:10 PM Parents, students and a counselor are protesting in central Phoenix this week decrying high-stakes testing that they claim creates anxiety for elementary school children.

The small group is picketing each day this week at the southeast corner of 12th Street and Indian School asking governing school board members to ban AIMS test and homework for kids younger than sixth grade.

Jane Fendelman, a Valley private counselor and one of the protesters this week, said she sees more young clients than ever stressed over the tests and excess homework.

They are third to fifth grade students who she claims are overwhelmed by all the work. The educator-turned-counselor blames AIMS for turning classrooms into what she calls "jails." . . .

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