Several weeks ago Superintendent Vargas and the Rochester Teacher’s Association were recognized for their teacher evaluation agreement. Most recently, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan awarded another eight states, including New York, waivers that will give these states, “more flexibility with federal funds and relief from NCLB’s one-size-fits-all mandate in order to develop and implement locally tailored solutions to meet their unique educational challenges” Duncan said.
According to the Associated Press nineteen states have already been given waivers with another eighteen states and Washington, D.C. waiting for their waivers to be approved. That will make a grand total of thirty-eight states that will be given “more flexibility and relief” from the No Child Left Behind mandate that, according to US principals and superintendents was, “either politically motivated or aimed at undermining public schools.”
NCLB is the reason for the increase in standardized testing, undecipherable report cards, Average Yearly Progress, Reading First, and funding changes. And, as stakeholders in education would agree, NCLB has left more children behind than ever before.
Though Democrats and Republicans agree that NCLB legislation must be rewritten, no one seems to know exactly what shape the new law should take. Everyone agrees that accountability is key in reaching the goal of education, 100 percent proficiency, however accountability is the very thing that is lacking in all areas of education.
Without accountability from all major stakeholders in education, parents, students, teachers, administrators, superintendents, school boards, and state education agencies, no legislation will be effective in improving education.
The “valued added” should be to the importance of education for every child. Average progress should be measured daily not yearly and if the child is not performing and the parent is not performing, measuring teacher performance is moot.
Undermining the importance of education by demeaning those who are called to educate will only serve to diminish the level of service provided. In order to effectively improve “the educational lot of disadvantaged students” you must first improve the attitude of disadvantaged students and parents toward education.
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