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Archive for Friday, September 23, 2011

Kansas may seek waiver of No Child Left Behind law now that Obama has opened the door

September 23, 2011

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— Kansas may again seek a waiver to the No Child Left Behind law now that President Barack Obama announced Friday that he would give states more freedoms in complying with the law.

The decision on whether to seek a waiver would have to be made by the State Board of Education.

Given previous discussion by board members on NCLB, it will likely get “serious consideration,” said Kansas Department of Education spokeswoman Kathy Toelkes.

Obama said he would drop the requirement that all students must earn a proficient score on tests for reading and math by 2014. Critics of the law said that was an impossible goal, set some schools up for being branded as failures when they were really improving, forced teachers to base their instructions on the test, and shortchanged other subject areas, such as history and science.

Instead, Obama said he would grant waivers to the requirement if states imposed standards to better prepare students for college and careers and set evaluation standards for teachers and principals.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education had rejected a waiver sought by Kansas, saying the best way to assist states was through timely reauthorization in Congress of NCLB.

The law was passed in 2001 under then-President George W. Bush. It was due for a rewrite in 2007, and the Obama administration has lobbied Congress to take action but Congress hasn’t yet.

In August, the state Education Board, anticipating that the federal Education Department would start granting waivers, discussed applying again. There seemed to be consensus that that might be a good idea as some board members said the proficiency goals were unfair.

State Board of Education Chairman David Dennis, a Republican from Wichita, said a high school in Wichita was making great strides in improving reading and math test scores, but, because a small subgroup was struggling, the entire school was labeled as having failed.

“Does that make any sense whatsoever?” he asked.

The board may take up the issue of whether to seek a waiver at its next monthly meeting, scheduled for Oct. 11-12.

Comments

Stain 2 years, 10 months ago

I hope Kansas gets a waver. NCLB hurt teachers and children. The only people who benefit are the folks who get the big government contract to write, score and report the tests. It's a huge waste of money and it hurt education - the biggest failure since they tried busing in the sixties.

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Stain 2 years, 10 months ago

And kudos to President Obama for not only recognizing NCLB is a failure, but admitting it publicly and starting to give states a way out.

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gccs14r 2 years, 10 months ago

Come campaign time, though, the Republicans will say Obama hates children and wants them to fail.

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chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

They'd say day was night if Obama said, "good morning."

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Don Whiteley 2 years, 10 months ago

Another excuse for failing public schools to keep right on failing. If they were business, our public schools would have been bankrupt and forced out of business years ago. No business can abandon responsibility for the products they produce and plan to stay around; only entities run by governments can do that.

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chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

If they were a business, children would be running around unsupervised on the streets for large portions of the day because their parents couldn't pay for them to attend. Check your history books. Coincidentally, it's the very kids with parents who could most afford to pay for it that actually do the best in public (and private) schools, but don't let facts get in the way with a rant about public services. Nobody's abandoning the responsibility to educate children. They're just conceding that NCLB imposes an impossible standard in measuring that outcome, and complaining about regulation is something businesses do all the time.

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notorious_agenda 2 years, 10 months ago

"and complaining about regulation is something businesses do all the time." You implied that they aren't a business to make your point, and then act like they should do what businesses do.

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chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

The post I replied to was saying that "if schools were a business" they wouldn't complain about NCLB and would instead magically meet all outcomes with the blessings of the free market fairies, or something like it. At any rate, balderdash. Not only do businesses complain all the time about regulations (good or bad), they're not obligated to service all customers, unlike public schools.

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notorious_agenda 2 years, 10 months ago

If the raw material in your factory is people, your analogy is a also total fail. As far as I recall there aren't any products made with "people" as the raw material, anyone who is making products of people would never have Control of the raw materials unless they were genetically altering and producing the people in the first place. That "raw material" takes us so far away from the discussion of schools that it adds nothing.

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jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

The problem is with the analogy between education and a business product, which was the original analogy made by dv.

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jehovah_bob 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't know if you've heard, but Soylent Green is people.

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funkdog1 2 years, 10 months ago

Oh puh-lease. Every business has the right to check the raw materials coming in the door and reject them if they're not up to their standards. What are you, twelve?

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Fossick 2 years, 10 months ago

"Can you imagine how much better public schools could be if teachers had the right to kick out students that were there to cause trouble?"

Yes, which is exactly whey they should be allowed to do it. Holding educable kids hostage to the ineducable is idiocy in its most distilled form. While it is arguable whether the citizens of a state owe an education to someone just because they want one, there is no way we should be spending education funds on those who manifestly and assuredly do not* want one.

  • I lose, it's already in the state constitution.
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Fossick 2 years, 10 months ago

I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part. And I'm just the guy to do it.

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chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

The problem becomes in determining who doesn't want to be educated. If kids always made rational choices in their own interest, they'd be adults.

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jhawk926 2 years, 10 months ago

If schools were a business, they would get rid of all the employees (students) that don't work hard. Schools don't work on the same line as businesses. If a bakery gets a bad batch of blueberries they throw them away and get a new batch. If a school gets a bad batch of students they can't just go get new students, they have to fix them. Stop trying to compare schools to businesses, nice try, but it just doesn't work that way.

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chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

To be fair, we do know a bit about how schools act when they're businesses. When they're charters, they do better 17% of the time and worse 43% of the time. When they're private schools, they do no better than public when compared by socioeconomic status.

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Lane Signal 2 years, 10 months ago

Yes, I think the business analogy applies. Businesses often try quick fixes. They impose strict guidelines with a narrow focus. They often don't look at larger issues when making those decisions. I think the difference here is that usually businesses recognize the short sighted policies are hurting operational efficiency, morale and effectiveness and they change. Businesses that are unwilling to change and unwilling to admit to problems with policies do go bankrupt. I think No Child Left Behind has a profoundly negative impact on our schools but perhaps in some small way it does provide one good lesson to young students. I think they learn now from a younger age how corrupt, hypocritical and dysfunctional our government has become and how this can have a direct impact on their lives.

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chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

I hope we get a waiver, but I also hope this isn't just used as an excuse for more charter mongering among the Koch funded crowd.

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Jimo 2 years, 10 months ago

Actually, the President has already offered a waiver of the ACA to any state that wants one and can implement its own program to cover everyone with insurance at a cost not higher than the ACA.

Vermont has already applied for a waiver. Kansas could choose to do the same anytime Brownback is willing to abandon the "let em die" GOP approach that confuses Death with Freedom.

Turn off the Propaganda Channel and become unmisinformed.

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overthemoon 2 years, 10 months ago

But....the congress approved the ACA. So would not repealing it undermine the authority of congress??? Or does it just run one way?

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Fossick 2 years, 10 months ago

If the next President can't manage to get NCLB or Obamacare rescinded*, it would be completely awesome if he would just grant a blanket waiver to everyone. That way those who think these laws are really sweet and cool and helpful can still get all the sweet cool helpfulness they deliver, and the rest of us can ignore these legislative abortions.

  • it is truly too much that he would wish to get rid of the aptly misnamed Patriot Act.
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chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

Actually, no. I think GWB nailed it when he outlined the problem with pubic education. The outcomes are worse for non-white and/or poor students. Exactly right. We do have low expectations. However, simply "expecting more" doesn't magically equalize school funding problems or use evidence-based practice to give kids a boost. NCLB exacerbates the problem rather than solving it.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

In the real world there are thousands and thousands of kids in college coming from former low performing high schools (Districts) who now actually have the American Dream chance. Same with tech jobs, and just plain educated kids.

NCLB was not aimed at Kansas schools, although it helped in some cases. NCLB was aimed at schools graduating our fellow lil Americans with 5th grade educations. Google cheating schools if you do not believe Bush and Ted did the job. You don't cheat unless you are concerned.

A tip o hat to Kennedy and Bush, you broke a few eggs, but the end result was worth it. Now, it's time, and I thank Obama for the leadership.

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chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

Cheating is proof of success? In what universe?

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

The educational system has been failing our children for a long, long time. NCLB failed to live up to it's expectations, but it certainly was not the cause of the problems we are now experiencing. The problems proceeded George Bush and will be with us long after Obama leaves the White House. The problems in school are a reflection of the problems outside school. Solve the latter and you will solve the former.

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jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I take it then that you're strongly in favor of a variety of social programs designed to help low-income families, and help those parents become better parents?

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

I am in favor of increased spending on education. I'm generally opposed to the concept of throwing money at a problem, hoping some of it will stick. Education is the exception. I am in favor of strong investments in education, trying new program, paying teachers more, hoping that in the decades to come, we will all benefit from that investment. But if you're talking about a broad spectrum of social programs that give people a sense of entitlement without demanding accountability and responsibility, then my answer would be no. I do not expect accountability and responsibility from children, I do expect it from adults.

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jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

That completely contradicts your above post.

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure what you mean by that. But if you mean that there are a broad spectrum of problems in society that need solving, then yes. If you mean that throwing money at those problems will solve them, then no. As I said, education is the exception for me. The deal is that I typically don't have opinions that are so deeply held that I can't be swayed if a good reason is given. Firm ideologies are fine and dandy, in theory. In the real world, sometimes a healthy dose of common sense is needed.

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jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

"The problems in school are a reflection of the problems outside of school. Solve the latter and you will solve the former."

If you're not in favor of social programs to help low income families and parents, which would make them better parents, and help their children do better in school, what's your proposed solution for the problems "outside of school"?

And, given your statement, why would you want to continue throwing more money at schools, since they're not the cause of the problem, or the likely solution?

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't believe the vast array of social programs have solved much of anything. If anything, it's promoted the idea of us being a people of entitlement. Investing in them solves nothing, hence my opposition. Schools are different. There is hope. I don't view a child in the same way as I do an adult. That sense of entitlement, yes, they do have that and that's fine with me. They are entitled. They are entitled to a quality education and more. They are entitled to food, clothing, shelter. Up until they become adults. Then the entitlement goes away. Of course, the problem is how do we as a society provide those things when the parent doesn't. I guess we provide for both, not that I like that idea. It's just that I like the alternative less. So those funds being provided for adults are, in my opinion, a necessary evil. And they should be limited in their scope. Not throwing money at a problem.

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Dave Trabert 2 years, 10 months ago

As part of their waiver request, KSDE will need to propose higher standards. "Reads grade-appropriate material with full comprehension" seems like a pretty good standard for determining proficiency in Reading. Currently, that's the state's definition of Exceeds Standard. We do students no favors by setting low standards, such as not having to read grade-appropriate material...the bar for Math standard is also set way too low ("performs accurately most of the time and has effective content knowledge" is Exceeds Standard in Kansas. Standards need to be raised in Kansas (and most states).

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chootspa 2 years, 10 months ago

Dave Trabert is a Wichita resident paid by the Koch-funded Kansas Policy Institute, a "think tank" that puts out libertarian propaganda. He's regularly spammed every single newspaper in Kansas that allows him. He's also serving in a position with ALEC, an also Koch-funded group that hands out model legislation. He's currently trying to get you to spend taxpayer money on private schools through voucher and charter programs in spite of evidence that these systems largely do worse for students rather than better.

"Reads grade appropriate material with full comprehension," means to me that they can understand every single word. They don't struggle, and they probably read higher lever material for fun. That does sound like they're exceeding normal expectations for a child at that grade level, and it doesn't mean they don't read grade appropriate material in class. Shame on you. You'd think "discloses conflicts of interest, provides accurate information without biased framing, and includes even inconvenient facts when covering a topic" would be meeting standards, but that turns out it exceeds standards.

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CHKNLTL 2 years, 10 months ago

The No Child Left Behind Act when initially passed required schools to turn over private information about students for the Federal purpose of Military Recruitment or they would be denied certain funding, unless students opted out of releasing their information. (Did your child's school ever send you a letter allowing you to opt out?) The test results are simply there to ensure that each child is methodically brainwashed of any ability to obtain knowledge through learning and dampen their ability to be creative, thoughtful individuals.

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