NCLB: Train Wreck for Public Education
As a retired educator and current substitute in Horry County Schools, I say it is high time we address the standards issue by taking it on the road. We need to take the issue of No Child Left Behind to the electorate. Teachers and supervisors, the PTAs, local politicians, civic and religious groups and anyone who understands the connection between a vital and relevant public educational system and democracy, in the fullest sense of the word, [should make this effort]. Unfortunately, with the federal No Child Left Behind Act, we are already well on our way to a train wreck for public education in America.
How do you defend a law that is likely to result in 85 percent of public schools being labeled "failing" based on a single test?
How do you defend a law demanding that schools have 100 percent of their children reaching proficiency on state tests in the next decade and then provide a fraction of the resources state educators say is necessary to help the poor, the foreign-born and the handicapped meet those standards?
From my personal experiences, I can tell you that since the bar has been raised [in] the [past] few years, in the form of high-stakes testing, students are busy dropping out and acting out, taking an untold and unimaginable toll on all school personnel.
Ask any educator, and he will tell you that one size does not fit all. Let us bring back alternative avenues for diplomas for vocational students, business students and whatever other relevant [categories] we can come up with. Let us bring back classes that are appropriate for students who have limited academic skills, for whatever reason.
Let us make schools happy, enterprising and productive places where diversity of culture, interest and skill will be met with a willingness to listen in the hopes of providing for productive futures. Thus far, those in the front lines of our nation's schools, those who work with our nation's children on a daily basis, have never been asked what the needs of our various students are.
I fervently hope that I will live to see the day when policy is made as a result of consultation with those very same people, as well as with the children and parents of those children who sit in their classes and schools.
Dr. Bernard J. Heavey Jr.
Federal act will devastate public schools
Myrtle Beach Sun News
June 23, 2003
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES