Vermont Child Advocates Engage in Activism
Arizona senate education committee:
Here is the contact information:
Toni Hellon, Chairman
Ron Gould, Vice-chairman
The Arizona bill is House Bill 2392 (already passed by the House).
Virginia Governor Tim Kane Contact information:
Here is a sample letter:
Office of the Governor
Patrick Henry Building, 3rd Floor
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
The Honorable Tim Kane, Governor
As a longtime teacher and a member of the Vermont Society for the Study of Education (VSSE), I urge you to sign HB 1425, directing Virginia to take an historic step in support of better education for its children and toward greater fiscal responsibility in its funding of public education.
For six years, VSSE has studied NCLB, and has found that it defaults on every promise it ostensibly made to the people of America, and particularly to AmericaĂ˘€™s school children. As a large number of nonpartisan studies have shown, in state after state, the costs of complying with NCLB exceed the federal funds received in return.
I want to share with you the research of William Mathis, a National Superintendent of the Year finalist who also teaches education finance at the University of Vermont and consults on funding systems through the Rural Schools and Community Trust. In a Phi Delta Kappan article, NCLB: Costs and Benefits, Dr. Mathis acknowledges that while the promise of providing all children with a high-quality education is a noble one, looking at projected costs of fulfilling NCLB requirements shows that the federal government is asking too much and giving too little.
Here is the abstract of a paper Superintendent Mathis will present at the annual meeting of the American Education Finance Association on April 11, 2008, in Denver.
Will We Keep the Promise?
Trends in Adequacy Studies and Funding Recommendations for Poverty and English Language Learner Students: 1999-2008
Abstract: The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 made explicit the promise to the nationĂ˘€™s children that they will be provided an adequate education regardless of sex, race, socio-economic or handicapping condition. Since the enactment, various claims have been made that the law did not and does not provide funds sufficient to bring our neediest children up to the predominantly test based standards.
More significant than the financial burdens, however, are the remarkably deleterious effects on true educational quality as a result of the components of NCLB. The tragic emphasis on standardized testing is chief among these. The fact that these test scores, developed through a very narrow, snapshot-like glimpse of a childĂ˘€™s learning serve to narrow the curriculum to those elements tested, reduce the time for actual instruction due to test administration and expanding test preparation, and drive out opportunities for child-centered creative instruction which can serve to address the needs of children as recognized by classroom teachers in a day to day setting.
With these problems, NCLB also abandons our neediest children. Though the promise was that all children would receive an adequate education, funding priorities have not been given to the growing needs of children of poverty. Instead, we have seen the law, through its virtual guarantees of labeling more and more schools as "failing" due to its absurd rating system, has directed money away from the very programs necessary to help these children, and the schools they attend, to do the difficult work essential for their growth.
Thus, we again ask that you, as Governor, put Virginia in the forefront of a movement to place the focus of education back on providing greater opportunities for teaching and learning as determined by states, school boards, parents and teachers, and away form artificially enticing and ultimately fraudulent constructs such as NCLB. If Virginia can lead the way, we feel other states will follow.
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