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

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Keep the Pressure On!

From Monty Neill:

Keep up the Pressure!

Your calls and letters urging a comprehensive overhaul of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are having a major impact!

So far, we've blocked efforts to push through an inadequate bill. But supporters of the current law are still working to stop fundamental reform. We have the month of August, while Congress is on recess, to puncture the rhetoric of those who claim NCLB is the only way to do "accountability." This is no time to let up the pressure we've worked so hard to build.

Members of Congress are at home in August -- talk to them about NCLB reform now!

. . . .

Find your Representative's contact information at www.house.gov and your Senators' at www.senate.gov. Focus your message on these key changes needed in the law:

Assess academic progress using multiple sources of evidence across all core subjects to encourage a rich, varied and equitable curriculum for all students. Every child deserves a nourishing education, not the empty calories of test prep drill-and-kill in two subjects, which is becoming standard fare, particularly in classrooms serving poor and minority communities.

Create a balanced accountability system based on more than just test scores. Hold schools and districts accountable for making systemic changes that support school improvement, such as high-quality professional development and strong parental involvement. Provide additional, targeted assistance to enable low-performing schools to educate all children well. Provide significant financial support to help states and districts develop multiple measures and balanced accountability systems.

End arbitrary "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) requirements, which most testing experts agree set students and schools up for failure. Expect Title I schools to post learning gains based on rates of student improvement attained by effective schools serving similar children. Allow growth measures that track the progress of the same students from year to year.

Reduce the amount of mandated testing. Scrap the requirement to test every child every year in grades three through eight. Allow sampling procedures for accountability purposes.

Support research, development and dissemination of high-quality assessments for English language learners and students with disabilities, including tools to be used by and professional development for teachers.

Act Now - and Spread the Word!

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