Friday, April 22, 2005

NCLB one last time

As I read through the internet-based responses to the NEA's lawsuit, I feel guilty about stating my opinion on the matter without supporting my beliefs with tangible facts. I feel that I need to say one more thing.

I believe that most people in favor of NCLB are in support of the theoretical intention behind the act, and I agree that, conceptually, the act appears to move education forward. The fact is, however, that those who created NCLB did not seek out the appropriate guidance from child- development specialists and veteran educators--once again, the Bush administration relied on uninformed-government officials and education administrators, people who have spent minimal time in the trenches with our children. I come from a family of teachers, we have over 100-years of teaching experience under our belts and numerous teaching awards to prove our worth. Sadly, we have observed education fall apart before our very eyes under NCLB. I don't have the space in this blog to detail the issues, but check out this essay; I believe she hits every point I would like to make on the topic, probably with more clarity than I would be able to muster today. Also, bloggle my mind has devoted a nice section (scroll down a bit) on this topic with some good links to articles here and here discussing NCLB's shortcomings and actual impact to date. Moreover, go talk to educators for yourself. They will tell you that, for the younger-grade levels, the NCLB's educational goals are often developmentally inappropriate and the requirement of exhaustive-standardized testing takes away from the learning experiences in the classroom. Young teachers are becoming burnt out before they even get their feet wet, and veteran teachers, like my mother with 36-years under her belt alone, are leaving because they can't handle having their hands tied and watching students not learn under this program. Meeting standardized requirements does not enable your child to develop learning strategies, does not challenge your child's intellectual capacities. NCLB neglects divergent thinking skills, artistic development, and alternative-learning-style development. Moreover, the NCLB puts schools in a precarious situation, making tough demands that require significant funds without detailing where the finances will come from. These are not the opinions of lazy teachers or incompetent educators. These are the beliefs of people who are successful parents, teachers, and educational specialists all in one.

Who do you believe? If you're the kind of person who is unwilling or not capable of looking past buzzwords, warm-fuzzies, and good intentions, I understand that you may continue to disagree with anti-NCLB folks. I dare you, however, to call us lazy or uninformed--where are your facts and what is your expertise?

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