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NCLB Outrages


by Peter Campbell

The National Association of Elementary School Principals issued a statement on the reauthorization of NCLB on 11/2/06. The 6-page statement can be found at


This is an important statement because it can be used as leverage in the strategy I outlined in my earlier messages. In short, this statement sounds great. The NAESP can certainly talk the talk. But are they willing to walk the walk?

Here are some relevant excerpts from the statement:

"We believe an effective system of assessment is one that measures student progress using multiple means, so that the unique learning styles and needs of students can be taken into account. We support the use of assessments primarily for diagnostic purposes – to measure student achievement and analyze the need for adjustments in the curriculum or teaching methods employed in each school. We oppose the high-stakes use of standardized test scores alone." (p. 2)

"Students with disabilities should be tested at the level at which they are taught, and this level may differ from a student’s chronological grade level." (p. 3)

"Assessment of [the progress of English Language Learners] must be done in a fair and realistic manner, and decisions about when and how to test English Language Learners must be made by the educators who know when the ELL students are ready to be assessed and how that should be accomplished. . . A student whose first language is not English should be given the state assessments only after he or she has become proficient in English. " (p. 4)

Here is the crown jewel:

"Each student arrives at school with a unique set of experiences and needs. Many students lack even the most rudimentary academic readiness preparation. Many are undernourished or ill, and some have never received medical or dental care. Others may be homeless or experience parental neglect. All these factors have a strong effect on a child’s ability to learn and thrive. It is important for schools and other state and local agencies to work together to help students succeed in their educational careers and lay a strong foundation for success in later life as well. This means ensuring that children are well fed and nurtured. Schools cannot do this alone and must not be expected to do so. A system of coordinated services, in which health and human services agencies work to support schools and students, should be established in every state, funded by state and federal resources." (p. 5)

I have yet to come across a statement as powerful as this from an agency that represents public education practitioners. Both the NEA and the AFT completely bypass the socioeconomic reality of students' lives. This statement is to be applauded and celebrated.

But what is the NAESP going to do about these grand pronouncements?

Here is a thought: let's go to their national convention next year in Seattle from March 29 to April 2.


Let's call this to question. Let's meet with some others. Let's start the insurrection!

— Peter Campbell


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