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NCLB Outrages

It’s the ‘principal’ of the thing

By Foy Evans

The news item reported that as many as 2,300 public schools across the nation are failing to meet goals of the No Child Left Behind law.

Principals will be fired. Teachers will be reassigned or fired. That is supposed to solve the problem. Thatâs what bureaucrats in Washington, who came up with NCLB, believe. Anyone in touch with reality knows this may help, but it certainly will not result in across the board higher test scores that will put every student in compliance with the goal by 2014.

I know from experience the importance of a good, strong, understanding, inspiring principal. I know the importance of competent teachers who can inspire students.

Replacing every principal and teacher with superb teachers and principals will not bring 100 percent of studentsâ test scores up to an acceptable level.

When I was young we used to talk about taking a mule to water, but it would not drink.

That is what you have here.

Some students can be taken to the well of knowledge day after day, but you cannot make them drink the water unless they want it.

Letting students transfer from a school that does not measure up to another school will not solve the problem. Educators in secluded offices far removed from classrooms need to go to those who work where the rubber hits the road â local school systems â and base decisions and expectations on what they learn.

Most students, fortunately, accept the fact that they need to go to school and they need to learn enough to pass tests.

Unfortunately, there are students who cannot or will not make that effort and will drop out of school or be laggards.

On the basis of my observations, students need help and encouragement at home. Some do not get it. Their parents are too busy to help them. Or their parents do not care. A student who can excel at school without encouragement and support at home is an exception, not the rule.

Children who are willing and eager to learn are needed if schools can meet the NCLB goals.

Principals and teachers will tell you that their best efforts fall on deaf ears when students come from homes where there is no support or encouragement, and because of many circumstances, including environment, wonât cut it.

Achieving No Child Left Behind goals for all children by 2014 is a pipe dream unless expectations are lowered. Educators are talking about making tests more difficult and this flies in the face of reality.

Separating students according to their abilities and receptiveness to education would be ideal, but we live in a world where we have to pretend that everyone is equal and if you spend enough money it will become reality.

In all fields of endeavor there are dreamers and the people who get things done. In the case of education, it appears that the dreamers (policy makers) are not conferring with those who must carry out the dreams.

— Foy Evans
Houston Daily Journal


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