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NCLB Outrages

Vermont Child Advocates Engage in Activism

Members of the Vermont Society for the Study of Education (VSSE) sent letters to members of the Arizona senate education committee and members of the Minnesota senate education committee, urging support of pending bills for the state to opt out of NCLB. We also sent a letter to Virginia governor Tim Kane, urging him to sign HB 1425,

Should any of you wish to do the same, here is contact information:

Minnesota Education Committee:
Chair: Charles W. Wiger sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn

Here is the page with contact info for other members of the committee:

Vice Chair: Sandy Rummel
Ranking Minority Member: David W. Hann
Member: Terri E. Bonoff
Jim Carlson
Sharon L. Erickson Ropes
Debbie J. Johnson
Michael J. Jungbauer
Ann Lynch
Geoff Michel
Rick E. Olseen
Gen Olson
Kathy L. Saltzman
LeRoy A. Stumpf
Patricia Torres Ray

Here is a sample letter:


Dear Senator ____________________

As a longtime teacher and a member of the Vermont Society for the Study of Education (VSSE), I urge you to support the bill proposed by Senators Hann and Michel, allowing Minnesota to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. I believe this step is critical to the children of Vermont and all the other states, as well as to the children of Minnesota.

For six years, VSSE has studied NCLB, and has found that it defaults on every promise it made to the people of America, and particularly to America’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.

http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/k0305mat.htm


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 nation’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 harmful effects on true educational quality as a result of the components of NCLB. The overemphasis on standardized testing is chief among these. Testing practices spawned by NCLB provide only a very narrow, snapshot-like glimpse of each child’s learning. And, sadly, these tests have served 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 the questionable process of labeling more and more schools “failing,” actually directing 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 a member of the Senate Education Committee, put Minnesota 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 from the failed logic and practices of NCLB. If Minnesota can lead the way, we feel other states will follow.

Thank you.

Sincerely,


Arizona senate education committee:
Here is the contact information:
Toni Hellon, Chairman
Ron Gould, Vice-chairman
Linda Aguirre
Ken Cheuvront
Linda Gray
John Huppenthal
Karen Johnson
Harry Mitchell

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 America’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.

http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/k0305mat.htm


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 nation’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 child’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.

Thank you.

— educators
VSSE
2008-04-05


INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES


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