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NCLB Outrages

Teachers, parents reject provisions in no child

Congressman Moore has been hosting a Listening Tour oom NCLB.

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Contact: Rebecca Black (913) 383-2013 rebecca.black@mail.house.gov
Moore To Host Listening Tour on No Child Left Behind

(OVERLAND PARK, KAN.) â Congressman Dennis Moore (Third District -- Kansas) will host a series of community meetings in early April to discuss the impact of the âNo Child Left Behind Actâ on our childrenâs education.

After these community meetings, Moore will work with his colleagues in Congress to address his constituentsâ ideas and concerns during the development of legislation reauthorizing NCLB, which is anticipated to begin this summer.

âIâm dedicated to doing everything possible to ensure our children receive a quality education,â Moore said. âOur schools, teachers, parents, and children deserve to know that Congress is listening to their concerns and working to make the program stronger and more effective.â

During each meeting, Moore will be joined by area experts who will discuss their experiences with the implementation of the NCLB law, as well as their overall thoughts about the program. After the panelistsâ brief remarks, there will be time for questions and public discussion.

Moore will also discuss the results of his recent survey, which, among other things, measured support for reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law among area teachers and administrators.

BY: Jack âMilesâ Ventimiglia

About 50 teachers and parents expressed concerns to U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore and other panelists about the No Child Left Behind Act, including that the act sucked the fun out of education.

Moore called the meeting Tuesday at the Blue Valley School District administration office building, 15020 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. He told the audience that Congress will review the act's provisions this summer and he wanted to know what the public thinks.

Other than agreeing with the premise that all children should have the best possible education, comments from most audience members suggested they think the law stinks. Parent Karen Wagner said elementary schools used to do science projects and provide activities, but teachers and students now spend all of their time preparing for and taking tests.

âThey'd have these big lunches and they brought in food and they'd have all this fun. We used to bring cultural experiences into our school. The teachers don't have time for that any more,â Wagner said.

A panelist from the U.S. Department of Education, Mary Davidson Cohen, said the department does not dictate how schools achieve proficiency requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act. She said every state sets standards and all are different.

Wagner said the act robs learning of joy.

âMy third-grader, who just finished his math assessments ... is already in the 'far exceeds' category, but in the reading he's struggling, and he came home and he said, 'You know, Mom, I got two of them wrong.' This is a 9-year-old boy who should love school,â Wagner said.

Panelist Libbi Cole said expectations in the act are not fair with regard to making schools accountable for having foreign-born students, after one year, test at the same level as children born here.

Another concern is that children who live in privileged areas have advantages over children who have nothing, but the law requires all to perform at the same level.

âPoverty is a hard foe to fight,â Cole said.

State Board of Education member Sue Gamble, a panelist, said she went to 18 schools in 12 years while being dyslexic and supports the act.

âI am one of those children left behind,â she said.

Prior to the act, Gamble said, 40 percent of Kansas children graduated with no better than a sixth-grade reading level. But after the standards, she said, the level dropped to fewer than 20 percent. Gamble said the act is having the effect of graduating better-educated students, in part because the state already had standards in place to achieve academic excellence.

âWe should be trumpeting it from the rooftops,â she said.

Christy Levings, representing the National Education Association, said state standards, not the act, led to academic achievement in Kansas. She said those who wrote the act left teachers out of the process and âhurt a great assessment system.â

Ken Minor said teachers started teaching to students who could not pass the test and that hurt his daughter.

âShe stopped learning in the public schools in about the fourth grade,â he said.

Jana Dixon said her son, 8, read at the 12th-grade level and school leaders suggested he did not need additional help.

Retired teacher Sharon Ward said she appreciated Moore's decision to call the meeting.

âIt's very important to have this town meeting ... to educate the community on what the different issues are,â Ward said.

— Jack “Miles” Ventimiglia
KC Community News


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