Eager, Capable Learners Found Wanting by NCLB
Ohanian Note: Please pay attention to how positively this teacher speaks about all her students. There is no resentment here about "those" low-income students. Their skills are still emerging. That is not "excuses"; that is the reality of a teacher's daily life. And it is the teacher voice of optimism.
Monica Hart-Nolan nails it: This law has turned my sweet, happy classroom into a test-prep mill.
The Business Roundtable, et al has a problem with student "happiness." Me? I think teacher unions should rally around the cause of a Happiness Index. I am very very very very serious about this.
I mean it.
To Arianna Huffington, Amy Goodman, and Keith Olbermann:
I am a 2nd grade teacher in Half Moon Bay, California.
About half my class of 20 are middle-class kids. The other half are low-income students who receive free or reduced-price lunch and whose English skills are still emerging. All of my students are eager, capable learners. However, in the eyes of No Child Left Behind, we are all
My students are found wanting because their standardized test scores are simply not high enough. I am found wanting because my students' standardized test scores are not high enough. The weird thing is that standardized
test scores only reveal a tiny fraction of what kind of learners my students are and only a tiny fraction of what kind of teacher I am. This law has turned my sweet, happy classroom into a test-prep mill.
Have you any idea what it is like to prepare 7-year olds to
take standardized tests? Do you think 7-year olds can
cram for a test? Do you think 7-year olds can be taught
how to add with carrying, subtract with borrowing;
remember vertices, edges and faces; how to properly
punctuate a sentence with quotation marks, remember the
meaning of synonym, homonym and antonym and the
correct way to syllabicate the word "syllabicate" in a
matter of a few months and to an extent where they can
pass a test on it all? Could you do all of that when you
As an experienced educator, I can tell you the answers to
my questions. NCLB isn't interested in what I have to say
about it. The law was written by people who have NO
CLUE about teaching and learning, and it shows in every
aspect of this terrible law.
I have joined the Educators' Roundtable in its call to
eliminate NCLB. I believe this law is a transparent effort to
privatize public education and has no true interest in
meaningful reform. Please check out the website:
Half Moon Bay, California
PS: I'm a huge fan of Gerald Bracey. He rocks!!
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES