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Archive for Friday, September 15, 2006

State to explore abandoning No Child Left Behind law

September 15, 2006

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Momentum is building across the political spectrum in Kansas to give No Child Left Behind a failing grade.

President Bush's major public school initiative is getting lambasted as unrealistic and counterproductive.

"Certainly there are a lot of things wrong with No Child Left Behind," said State Board of Education Chairman Steve Abrams, a conservative Republican from Arkansas City.

His comments came as the state department of education released figures showing 26 schools and 11 districts with high numbers of low-income students failed to make the required progress under NCLB. None from Lawrence was identified.

That number would have been slightly higher, but the State Board of Education voted to keep the target goals the same for 2006 as they were previously.

Abrams said the board wanted to give schools a year to get acclimated to a new testing schedule.

Previously, NCLB required testing of only three grade levels. But starting in 2005-06, grades third through eighth and one grade in high school had to be tested in reading and mathematics.

The test results determine whether the school made adequate yearly progress in increasing the percentage of students who meet the standards. Each year the target increases.

Opting out

The education board has been sharply divided between moderates and conservatives on numerous issues, but it has agreed within the next couple of months to take a look at what the impact would be if the state disengaged from NCLB and refused the federal funding associated with it. The board also will explore trying to get Congress to change the law.

Abrams said the NCLB requirement that 100 percent of school children reach proficiency in math and reading tests by 2014 is "statistically impossible."

The Kansas Association of School Boards applauded the decision by the board to hold the targets the same for the current school year.

"The board's action will give some schools a reprieve, but if NCLB continues in its present form, virtually all schools are expected to 'fail' to achieve adequate yearly progress," the association said.

Under the law, schools and districts also are required to meet adequate yearly progress among subgroups of students.

KASB said that a school with all major subgroups has at least 42 ways to miss adequate yearly progress, no matter how positive its results are on every other measure.

'End goal'

Lawrence High School Principal Steve Nilhas said he didn't think the board's action would have much impact.

"I think any way you slice it, we have to be at 100 percent (proficiency) by 2014," Nilhas said.

"So, it's whether you want to take it in big steps or smaller steps, you still have to get there. That's the bottom line for me," he said. "So, I'm not losing a whole lot of sleep on where they set the targets. I'm kind of looking at the end goal and that's where we have to get to."

Debbie Ridgway, president of the Pinckney School Parent Teacher Organization, said the NCLB law might need restructuring.

"I think the concept in itself is a good concept," Ridgway said.

But when funding is being cut so there are not enough remedial reading and math teachers to help students, it counteracts the intent, she said.

"Someone is going to be left behind without help," she said.

Michelle Kirk, president of the Langston Hughes School PTO who teaches third grade at Quail Run School, said she had mixed feelings about NCLB.

She thought it had good points, but it has caused educators to "over test" and focus their lessons so students learn only the standards on the tests.

"Sometimes there are other things that are important too," she said. "But if it's not measurable, then we don't teach it."

Kirk said Congress should provide funds to keep class sizes down to about 15 to 17 students per teacher. When class sizes creep up to 21 students per teacher - and there's no paraprofessional to assist - the teacher can't give as much help to students who need it, she said.

"Smaller class sizes are the absolute, most essential thing they can do," Kirk said.

Lawrence's congressional representatives have voiced varying views about NCLB.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, a Democrat, voted for the measure in 2001, but has introduced a bill that would allow a state education agency or school district to suspend NCLB provisions until it is fully funded. Moore said the federal government has shorted the new law by $40 billion.

U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, a Republican, voted against NCLB, but has defended the amount of money the federal government has provided under the legislation.

- Staff writer Dave Toplikar contributed to this report.

Comments

Kuku_Kansas 8 years, 3 months ago

This may be the first issue Abrams and I actually see eye-to-eye.

Many school districts across America have declared, while NCLB, is altruistically great...it is indeed "statistically impossible" to accomplish.

Unfortunately, schools are not factories that can annually turn out "products" that can all read, write and do their math at the same rate/pace.

Perhaps the most unfair measure holds all students, ESL and students with special learning needs equally accountable as their peers. A child born with a cognitive and/or physical disability or an IQ significantly lower than their peers, should not hold a school and/or district from reaching their AYP.

America's public and private school students do not learn equally or equitably.

Why assume they should all be assessed on equal standards?

KS 8 years, 3 months ago

This one will make you all mad this morning........A classic example where the school districts don't want to compete with real life. The distrcits will call this an unfunded mandate. Well, get used to it. Any company or organization that does business with a government entity knows exactly what that is all about. The districts need to be accountable. A whole bunch of money goes into the system with some pretty poor results in some areas.

I think it is the intent of some in the program to practice what I call the "3D" approach to education. Keep them dumb, dependent and democrat. I blame the teachers union on that more than the districts. Have a nice day, I'm out of here.

crono 8 years, 3 months ago

NCLB needs to be shown the door. And I say that as a conservative and (former) GWB supporter. Yet, NCLB's federal control over education flies against fundamental ideas of conservatism (i.e., local and state control over such things).

As just a moment's reflection shows, the sad, yet inescapable, truth is that some child must be "left behind" (either because of their own lack of innate abilities, or by their own choice).

bmwjhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

Do it! Abort! Abort! It will be non-policy by 2009 anyways, when every school is "on improvement," so we might as well be among the first states to use the parachute.

KS 8 years, 3 months ago

Ted Kennedy was the primary sponsor of NCLB. He thought it was a pretty good idea. BTW, I generally don't agree with Teddy on much of anything. The whole idea was to get some improvement and accountability into the school systems. Apparently that is not wanted. I go back to my 3D comment.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 3 months ago

Hope the schools like a abandoning the federal funding dollars as well.

Sacerdotal 8 years, 3 months ago

"might as well be among the first states to use the parachute." ++++++++++++ An expensive parachute, it is. $200,000,000 or so in Title I money. NCLB is poorly designed, based on phony data from Texas and, essentially, a political tool not an educational program. On the other hand, if schools don't make a sincere and sustained effort to "leave no child behind" and to make sure everyone is at least literate and knows survival math (at a bare minimum) we will all pay for these failures.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 3 months ago

well I think this no child left behind does not work in the spirtit it was intented, and there are plenty of children that are getting left behind on many things and schools are not getting to all subjects like they used to because they are forced to focus on only a few subjects.

Kuku_Kansas 8 years, 3 months ago

KS--

You're comparing "for-profit" enterprises with public schools, funded solely by state/federal government, legally required to educate all students.

These enterprises also have the option to hire/fire, or just fade away if the governmental regulations/mandates are too much.

Public schools are required to educate all learners, regardless of ability and aptitude.

Reality is, there are students in our public schools that do not speak English, but are required to take state assessments. These scores are factored into the AYP formula, ultimately tied to federal/state funding and sanctions.

There is a major problem when many of the traditional "top-performing" school districts all across the nation are not meeting AYP and/or safe harbor marks.

Kuku_Kansas 8 years, 3 months ago

Hope the schools like a abandoning the federal funding dollars as well.

Many school districts across the nation have already done this and are properly funded by state and local taxes, even providing per-student-expenditures of $14,000 and average teacher salaries $80,000+/year--all a CRAZY notion to Kansans.

Sacerdotal 8 years, 3 months ago

"Many school districts across the nation have already done this."

Name them, please. The Feds deal with this state-by-state. Plans are approved by Dept. of Ed in D.C. Each school in each state must follow the plan.

fed_up 8 years, 3 months ago

NCLB has no cap!

It's not just affecting the student that struggles. Your gifted child that scored in the 95th percentile last year had better score at least 96 this year! This drives principals and teachers to base your children's "needs" purely on numbers and not what is best for your children! Your 10 year old gets (1) 15 minute recess after 2pm now. Your 11 year old does an hour and 15 mins straight of math regardless of whether they are in remedial, regular or advanced math without a break. This will ensure the proper scores.

What happens to those average students who aren't developmentally ready to grasp certain concepts? They feel stupid! They give up! They hate school! YES, even when the parent tries to help!! It's not just the parents that don't care that are being affected by this law. The ones that DO care are seeing extremely negative thoughts coming out of our kids that DO go to and love school and work hard! The focus isn't JUST on kids who don't want to try or are failing certain things.

NCLB affects all of your children, is poop, and we all know poop rolls downhill... right into the laps of our kids!

Add all of those factors to a resume building leadership and a teacher that no longer gets that much needed, extra, teeny tiny 15 minute break from a group of kids that have had no outlet and you're setting your classrooms and your children up for total failure! God help you if your child has one of the rare few crappy teachers that don't know how to teach in a positive way to begin with!

NCLB has brilliant intentions, but was set up in a way that leaves the teaching process up to people who are waiting for that next great job to come along! (Teachers don't make the school rules you know...) It should have been more of a "plan" instead of just spouting what the end result needs to be and provisions should have been made to help those classrooms that need the help whether it's students that aren't academically achieving, or a teacher that just can't teach that many levels to that many chilren at once.

Hurt my child?? and I will support NO RULE or law that they ever come up with again!

ksmoderate 8 years, 3 months ago

Again, we see the glaring incompetence of Jim Ryun. He thinks the current level of federal funding for its NCLB program is just fine!?!? I don't have the official numbers, but I remember reading that NCLB funding is FAR below what the government promised. By doing this, our government is leaving EVERYONE behind.

KS:

The teachers union wants to keep people dumb? What kind of bizarro world do you live in?

fletch 8 years, 3 months ago

"Abrams said the NCLB requirement that 100 percent of school children reach proficiency in math and reading tests by 2014 is "statistically impossible.""

I'm glad somebody has finally said this out loud. There is simply no way to get 100% proficiency. Special Ed children are factored into the overall number when some of them will never be able to progress past a 2nd or 3rd grade vocabulary. If a student who isn't a native speaker moves into the district, they have to be proficient in only a few months. It's inane. I'm all for goal setting and goal tracking, but let's do it with some degree of well thought out logic and planning.

mom_of_three 8 years, 3 months ago

One of my kids has dyslexia and related learning problems. She gets help on all other tests (because it takes so long for her to read and she mixes things up), but not on the state tests. How fair is that??
Her tests scores are way below average, but so far this semester, she is earning A's and B's in junior high. If they gave her the state tests verbally or with reading assistance, her scores would be much, much higher.

Sacerdotal 8 years, 3 months ago

I am so proud to dispute "conservative"man on this one. Whom would Jesus call a name? NCLB IS poorly designed, but some of its motivation came from the institutional racism in public schools, particularly in the large cities. The President has said exactly two things that make sense since he took office. 1. "The soft bigotry of low expectations must end." Related to NCLB. 2. "America is addicted to oil."

costello 8 years, 3 months ago

I recently adopted a teenaged boy from foster care. He has significant behavioral problems which interfere with his ability to succeed academically. With therapy, he's improved a great deal. But last year, when I placed him in one of Lawrence's junior highs, the school called his guardian ad litem and asked her to move him to a different school, because he was messing up their NCLB statistics. Apparently the solution to failing grades is to get rid of the students who are pulling down the scores. No child left behind except the hard ones. And don't find a way to educate them; just kick them out.

davisnin 8 years, 3 months ago

These kids won't have paras with them in the real world

KS 8 years, 3 months ago

autie - I agree with you that some kids just either can't or won't learn. You and I will also probably agree that the primary educator of a child is their parents and that relationship is lacking in many households. I believe that NCLB is an attempt to help. I don't believe the state will seperate from NCLB for one reason. Money! The schools will not want to give up the federal assistance they receive from it.

For all the liberals out there that don't like the program, just remember that Teddy (one of your own) was the one that thought this up.

The biggest beef I hear out of it is the accountability factor and paperwork, etc. And then also because good ole Bush supported and pushed it. Oh me! It's bad! Get rid of it, gotta go! Well, get in line. As long as you support the Government getting into your life, what can you expect, but someone telling you how to live it. Later.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 3 months ago

KS that is SO TRUE. Everyone forgets about ole Uncle Teddy and his push for this. I believe this is a bi partisian issue.

See what happens when Dems and Repubs agree~

ASBESTOS 8 years, 3 months ago

Well with some digging I have found THIS from our friends at "Greenbush". This is also one of those "traing Centers" that was wasting money.

http://www.greenbush.org/program_AZ.cfm?PID=158

http://www.greenbush.org/MigrantEducation/home.html

Here is a brochure for schools to purchase Mac computers, too bad that Dell could give you twice the computer for half the price. There is NO sales tax collected on these sales, thers is no income for the state of Kansas.

http://www.greenbush.org/GREENBUSHRECBUYFLIER.pdf

Additionally "Greenbush" is treated as a school district "Interlocal 609", they have 600 employees, and provide services for in direct competition with the private sector (See computers above or environmental services) and are FUNDED by the STATE. I think there is a WHOLE lotta money being wasted here, and being squandered. As the computers can be had for much cheaper (they say they are saving school distrists money, not by buying macs instead of Dells!

It seems that as a public entity they need to open the bidding process, and actually go for the better services, and hoepfully local. Need an investigation in how this entity does their procurement with PUBLIC MONEY!!!

http://www.greenbush.org/greenbushhistory.pdf

PLEASE, PLEASE someone get this to the LPA, or to the GOV!!

as_I_live_and_breathe 8 years, 3 months ago

Posted by Kuku_Kansas (anonymous) on September 15, 2006 at 5:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Perhaps the most unfair measure holds all students, ESL and students with special learning needs equally accountable as their peers. A child born with a cognitive and/or physical disability or an IQ significantly lower than their peers, should not hold a school and/or district from reaching their AYP.


I don't think this is right KK_K.... my daughter has special needs. there are exclusions they offer special tests for those kids.

as_I_live_and_breathe 8 years, 3 months ago

AWW they're gunna leave no child left behind behind.....

ASBESTOS 8 years, 3 months ago

Will someone PLEASE do an investigation of Interlocal 609 shcool district and see how the money is being used and if they are doing competitive bidding on products and services, or are these all "inside deals" to special partners.

They are a public entity, and going through their website, it smells BAD!

I will bet that the "employees" of "Interlocal 609", salaries are higher than teachers salaries. I bet they get "administrative level" compensation.

As a "public entity" their salaries are OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS.

THis will be interesting!

ASBESTOS 8 years, 3 months ago

I bet those at Dell Computer marketing would want to know this.

I'll bet that BestBuy, CompUSA, Office Depot and others would like to bid and provide computers too.

I bet the Large school districts would like to know how much money of theirs has been funnelled to Greenbush ie Interlocal 609.

I wonder if all the incentives from those that are selling to Greenbush ie rebates etc. are being returned to the state general fund as required for ANY SCHOOL DISTRICT.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 3 months ago

"U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, a Democrat, voted for the measure in 2001, but has introduced a bill that would allow a state education agency or school district to suspend NCLB provisions until it is fully funded. Moore said the federal government has shorted the new law by $40 billion.

U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, a Republican, voted against NCLB, but has defended the amount of money the federal government has provided under the legislation."

Ooooh, what a shock. A Republican from Kansas has defended the amount of money the federal government has provided under the legistlation. Most Republicans from this state would defend an amount of $0 being spent on education. I don't know what the conservatives from this state have against education. Is it that they want their kids home-schooled or educated in some religious private school, either of which allow only creationism to be taught? Cripes, I think I'll go trick-or-treating in Topeka as Darwin and see how many Republicans I can scare.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and right_thinker, the Civil Rights Act, which led to the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, was proposed by a Democrat. Generally when I think of uptight, bigoted a$$holes, religious conservatives are what come to mind. Who worries the most about minorities moving into their neighborhoods and bringing down the property values? Rich republicans. Who will you find on the members list of certain lily-white country clubs? Oh, yeah. Rich republicans.

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