What's coming down the pike next

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Jackstreet, Jan 28, 2011.

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New Name For NCLB: "Every Child Counts"

  1. I like the name "Every Child Counts."

    2.3%
  2. I don't like the name "Every Child Counts."

    2.3%
  3. I prefer "No Child Left Behind."

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. I don't think the name matters.

    60.5%
  5. Frankly my dear Scarlet I don't.....

    34.9%
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  1. Jackstreet

    Jackstreet Companion

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    Looks like No Child left Behind could be radically changed by summer.
    Starting with a new name -- "Every Child Counts."
    How drastic of a change will be made and how much will teachers and administrators have to adapt to what's coming next? It's hard to say based on what I heard this week in an interview with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. But one thing is for sure. The name "No Child left Behind" will be left behind. The likely new name is "Every Child Counts." I'm wondering what you all think about that name or if the name even matters. Apparently many people think it does. What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
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  3. Mark94544

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    Yep, every child counts. One, two, three...

    Whatever they call it, it will still be "No Child Left Untested."
     
  4. Jackstreet

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    They say they have taken the feedback from the last eight years, ( which they view as a market test) keeping the good parts, getting rid of the bad parts and basically putting on new name on it because the old name is tainted. Sounds like you don't feel that *any" good came out of NCLB. Is that correc?
     
  5. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

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    What were the worst parts of the law? I suppose the AYP stuff, especially the notion that in just a few years, all students would somehow reach proficiency, and that schools (and principals and teachers) whose students didn't make specific progress benchmarks were "failing." Nobody could defend it with a straight face.

    This system created perverse incentives for teachers, for principals, for district administrators, and for county and state administrators.

    Many schools threatened with "failing ratings" distorted their curriculum in obscene ways (discussed below). Districts and schools which defied the law's perverse incentives were summarily designated as "failing." Perhaps most absurd, schools which complied with all the perverse incentives, but who had one or two students from a single subgroup who didn't take a single test, saw the entire school's ranking voided.

    But the worst part was the pressure on teachers to "teach to the test." Again, there's my stepdaughter's elementary school, which sought to stay in lock-step with the law's technical requirements by dropping all curriculum except "testable and frequently-tested topics in math and reading." No science, no history, minimal writing.

    (During practice and real testing, the school spent extra money to provide snacks and juice for every student. Not to help them learn. Not for the students' benefit. But to take a test with high stakes for the teacher and principal.)

    I've heard reports (yes, anecdotal, hopefully exaggerated) of schools where teachers were urged to focus mostly on specific students whose scores were "just below" a benchmark, since it would be easier to push them up -- at the expense of ignoring students who were further behind.

    Teaching to the test -- a horrible idea, especially when so many of the tests are so flawed, and especially when the tests cover only "the most easily tested" standards, and when teachers are coached on which of the "testable" standards are "most frequently tested."

    And then, finally, the notion of measuring teacher performance based on students' performance on one flawed standardized test -- including students who've been in the teacher's classroom for less than six months.

    Will the new law include a focus on remediation in those content standards which were excluded from curriculum because they were "untestable" or "rarely tested"? Will the new law help students whose elementary-school experience excluded history and science?

    I doubt it. From what I've read, the focus will still be on "measurement" and "ratings," using standardized tests as the primary tool.
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I don't care what name they give it. Like the previous poster said, the intention of the law is not to provide a well rounded education for our children, but to provide a generation of children who are really good at filling in bubbles.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think the intentions are probably good.

    But the problem is that it's pretty hard to define just what an education should include. Is it about on the job training? College prep? An educated electorate? Stranger danger? Preventing obesity? Teaching kids to appreciate and use technology? Teaching them how to find the information they need?

    And, even if we could ALL agree on one clear goal for education, we can't agree on implementation. What works for my son does NOT work for either of his sisters. Kira's auditory processing difficulities make her education necessarily different from either of her siblings. Now multiply those differences by all the kids in their classes, and by all the classes in the schools, and by all the schools in the country, and OF COURSE it's going to be incredibly hard.

    Throw in the fact that the decision makers have consituents to answer to, and this whole thing is necessarily going to be difficult.

    Then add in the resistance when anyone tries to change something that is working in any one classroom or school or district, on the basis that it isn't working elsewhere.

    If educational reform were easy, it would have been done already. It isn't easy. That's why program after program is implemented: each tries to fix the things that went wrong with the program that preceeded it.

    But it's like a Rubic's Cube: get one row in order, and doing so disrupts the work you've done on another row, or another side.

    Go back to the '80's, with A Nation at Risk, or before that, to LGJ's Great Society and the early days of Head Start. Educational reform isn't new. But its goals change as times change.
     
  8. StudentTeach

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    This was common practice at the middle school where I student taught.
     
  9. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Once in a great while, somebody actually pulls off explaining a very complex problem with a limited amount of words. This was one of those moments.
     
  10. bandnerdtx

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    This was the practice of my former district as well. We called them "bubble" students, and they were even isolated in to specific classes! When the admin looked at projected scores for the upcoming year, they would focus on these "bubble" kids. We knew exactly who they were and spent a great deal of time and money on educating them... My current district, thankfully, is concerned about more than just passing a test...

    I wish I could believe that our government officials had the best of intentions when creating these laws/programs/guidelines, but I don't think they really do. They seem to be more concerned about maintaining the status quo. I can't help but think that if they were really concerned about how to make schools more productive and effective, they would actually include teachers on these decisions, and they would let us govern ourselves more. The medical board is made of doctors, the Bar is made of lawyers, but most state boards of education are made of random elected officials...
     
  11. Jackstreet

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    Measurement and rating will apparently continue to be part of the new program. However, Duncan and the members of the committee overseeing the reform assert that they are aware of the maladies you have identified. They are focused on eliminating the perverse incentives and want to shift from being a "top down" plan to a local educator driven reform model. Your thoughts?
     
  12. Jackstreet

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    I'm curious about your comments. Wondering why you believe that government officials don't have the best of intentions.

    Question one:

    Both the previous administration and this one have perhaps introduced the most radical reforms in the history of education reform. ( desegregation aside) What are you looking at that makes you feel they are more interested in maintaining the status quo?

    Question Two: Arne Duncan *is* an educator and regularly meets with teachers and administrators to learn what works and what doesn't... He is also pushing for the kind of bottom up, educator driven reform you are suggesting... Do you not believe him?
     
  13. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Answer one: Are you referring to NCLB and Race to the Top as "radical reforms"? I don't see them as such. Things are not happening much differently in our classrooms now than they were 20, 30 or even 40 years ago. Our curriculum has not changed fundamentally at all! If anything, most educators will tell you we're continuing to "dumb down" what we're teaching. We are certainly not adapting our schools to fit the learning styles or the needs of a technology driven society. We still are expected to teach in traditional classrooms based on age rather than ability. We still measure learning on arbitary standards. Nothing radical has happened. That is the status quo of which I speak.

    Answer two: Arne Duncan is a fine person, I'm sure, and I'm equally sure he would like to see some reform, but I wasn't really referring to the federal government's role. I'm specifically talking about local and state boards of education that are completely out of touch with the needs of our children and seem much more concerned about keeping the haves and the have nots separated.
     
  14. G00d d00bie

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    I think it is a ridiculous name. The vast majority know that every child counts. And they are always trying to be clever in the naming. They get sickening. They act like they deserve to go to heaven.
    A better name is "Train up a child the way he should go."
     
  15. Jackstreet

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    Not sure whether we're dealing with semantics or perception here (perhaps both). Something has *certainly* changed, if only the narrowing of the curriculum and the inclination to teach to the test. Also large numbers of schools are now wired and leveraging technology. What you seem to be saying is that unless our efforts actually producing the right results then the efforts don't count. The irony here is that this is exactly what both administrations believe and is what gave rise to the idea of testing and measuring for outcomes in the first place?

    To your point about the local politics of education. I get the sense that there is a very large segment of Americans whose education reform policy is, as long as "my child isn't left behind" we can live with a population of poorly educated Americans. The premise seems to be that even though we're all in the same boat, my family has life jackets.
     
  16. Jackstreet

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    BTW. I believe you know that creating "a generation of children who are really good at filling out bubbles" was *not* their intention, but that what we are seeing is simply a fairly typical miscarriage of good intentions.
     
  17. webmistress

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    :yeahthat:

    And teachers (test pushers) who are great at following mandated scripts and teaching to the test.
     
  18. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    That wasn't their intention; it was a consequence of their intentions. They intended to bring accountability into the education system, but instead they got schools gaming the system. Districts see it necessary to teach to the test so they don't fail to make AYP, when the intention was that students with good teachers who provide an interesting curriculum would automatically pass the test because they were well-educated.
     
  19. Jackstreet

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    Okay, so is education reform just difficult like a Rubic's Cube? Or does over 100 years of failed education reform suggest that this is just an insoluble problem?
     
  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I understand the good intentions of the people making the educational decisions for the nation. However, by the time these decisions trickle down to individual districts, something is lost in the translation.
    Case in point: we had a meeting this week and the teachers in grades 3-5 were told that since our math scores were too low last year (based on the two days of state testing), we were now going to readjust the way we will teach math for the next two months until testing. They gave us a list of the skills that will be on the test (based on info from the dept of ed). They also gave us sample tests and a couple of websites that we are to pull additional tests from. We are only to teach the listed skills that they gave us for each grade level. We are to skip skills if they aren't tested, even if they are a prerequisite necessary skill.
    Oh...and we are to spend at least an hour each week practicing bubbling in answer sheets...
     
  21. tortega

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    "I've heard reports (yes, anecdotal, hopefully exaggerated) of schools where teachers were urged to focus mostly on specific students whose scores were "just below" a benchmark, since it would be easier to push them up -- at the expense of ignoring students who were further behind."


    Oh yes, They certainly did this in the district where I was an intern teacher. Also, we spend copious amounts of time determining which students fell into the most categories, because a poor, biracial, english language learner was "worth" four students toward the AYP. We also spent a ridiculous amount of time matching the standards the students did the poorest on with the standards that garnished to most weight on the year end test. That was how we were to decide what to teach during the re-teach days. It was all a gigantic waste of time and did NOTHING to improve education for the students.
     
  22. Jackstreet

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    So I get what you see as the problem:

    1.Prescriptions based on just two days of testing
    2. Too narrowly targeted teaching objectives

    So two questions:

    How do you think student proficiency should be determined?
    What remedial action would you have proposed in this scenario?
     
  23. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Please tell me that what you mean is the skills involved in taking a multiple choice test and not simply the ability to color in a small circle with a #2 pencil without going outside the lines.

    If the latter is true, we have literally witnessed new depths of administrative incompetence far lower than anything ever witnessed before.
     
  24. John Lee

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    Some people are posting about how TPTB have good intentions... I disagree, and it's something that will always be a hurdle for the general public to try to grasp: The fact that these people aren't working in the best interests of the people. They actually oppose and undermine what's best. :2cents:
     
  25. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    How do you think student proficiency should be determined?

    **I really think that student proficiency needs to be determined multiple times throughout the year...not just in one week or so of testing. I love that we now have standards (and are working to create common standards...even though they are a work in progress). I love that schools are working on creating and purchasing interventions for students who are struggling not just moving them forward.

    I think that we need to look at a student growth model, not a year to year model. We should be determine how students are progressing and what they are now able to do that they weren't last year. Really focusing on individual students. However, it still cannot be a once a year test.

    What remedial action would you have proposed in this scenario?

    **I would look at the areas that the students did not meet in or areas that they truly struggle and provide intervention in these areas. This would be on top of the regular curriculum. Maybe during an intervention period, these students would truly focus on understand fractions (if this was an area of concern) or geometry or whatever the area of concern is.
     
  26. Jackstreet

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    In your opinion what is their real intention?
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure I agree with your premise of "over 100 years of failed education."

    I think that some of our kids, many of our kids, receive a wonderful education, provided by caring teachers working in harmony with caring parents.

    Of course, they don't make the headlines.

    And on an individual scale, most problems are solvable. So we've got to find a way to spread that success to those kids who haven't yet experienced it.

    The problem is that those in a position to make policy can't consider that individual scale, they've got to make policy for hundreds of thousands of kids at the same time. And that's where those individual differences come in to play. And where setting a policy that will help your daughter means that something that was working for my son gets changed into something that doesn't work quite so well.
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think it's entirely possible to grasp reality and still disagree with your opinion of what constitutes a "fact".

    And that you can have good intentions and still "undermine what's best" for an individual or a region.
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Thanks, Sarge!
     
  30. Jackstreet

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    Point of clarification: Not "failed education." The reference is to failed education "reform." The central problem of education reform, the achievement gap, persists and lives on in living color.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My apolgies.

    I'm juggling a few things at the moment, including a PB&J, and simply didn't read carefully enough.
     
  32. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    They didn't put enough forethought, planning, or balanced studies/research into the consequences of their harsh punishments, so I do believe all of the negative reactions and behavior we are seeing from students and teachers was their intention. The politicians are not dumb, and they had to know that naturally people would go into panic mode if their funding is stripped because they did not meet AYP.

    How could anything positive come from such harsh consequences of NCLB and RTTT? They had to know that nothing (holistically and long-term) positive would result, but instead those in danger of losing funds would definitely improve their test scores due to fear and intimidation, by any means necessary, and that is exactly what is happening.


    They took the easy way out in determining accountability and improving education.

    If they really had good intentions, they would have taken into consideration the massive amount of educational groups out there with firsthand knowledge and experience of ways to improve the system, they would try to diagnose and cure the reasons as to why the field as the highest turnover rate of any professional field, they would not completely ignore extenuating factors of the racial divide & the socioeconomic divide, they would have taken into consideration all of the scientific factors that are proven to affect the brain and learning (nutrition, abuse, medication, genetics, sleep patterns, mental illness etc)....

    ...they would extensively study what was working with the old system (such as how did it manage to successfully educate brain surgeons and rocket scientists if the system was so bad) and try to take what was right and use many variables, resources, input, and 'historical and new research to propose a way to improve what is wrong without introducing fear and intimidation into the equation and stripping the ones on the front lines of all power and a voice.

    They failed on all of those levels and so many more levels, so I think their intentions had nothing to do with improving the intellectual, academic, or social progress of all students. The increase in test scores would make it seem as if things have improved.
     
  33. JustMe

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    This took a while to sink in—I'm slow—but here's what still absolutely blows my mind.

    This past fall we were told my grade's reading scores dropped considerably. Now, I won't even get into the fact that we find out well into the school year how we performed on the spring test so that if any major professional development or program changes need to take place, it's too late…so, moving on. I was upset to learn of our scores, but as I do every year I opened up my Excel document containing my last year's rosters and information. I plugged in next to each name what that student scored and compared it to what they scored the previous year. It didn't take long to realize that overall they did a good job...I was proud for them, especially considering they were a difficult class. And I'll be honest, I felt I did a good job. In fact, I was pretty impressed with the growth and I was even impressed that the students we thought would surely drop based on their performance throughout the year didn't. They came to me lower than what had been usual, and while they on the whole improved, they were still lower than my previous year's class in the end. So even though they improved individually, they were not as strong as the class before them...which means we failed. That's insane.

    Apples to oranges. :dizzy:

    [ETA: Point is, until we—meaning those in power—monitor individual progress, I'll be unsatisfied.]
     
  34. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    JustMe--I completely agree!

    Now as to nothing good coming out of NCLB and RTTT. I have seen many bad situations arise from these. However, I have seen some school districts find ways to improve. Adding of literacy coaches, reading and math specialists was amazing.

    Providing interventions to students instead of just putting them in a lower class. I hear my special education teacher comment all the time on the higher expectations. It has taken her this long to realize that her students can live up to the expectations.

    Really looking at student data and trying to find interventions that match the students.

    I know that my district wasn't doing this before NCLB and RTTT.
     
  35. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    1. A student's progress would be based on an entire year (or semester) of coursework. If they pass the course, that means they mastered the content and would be considered proficient. (Sort of like in the "olden days!"
    2. Children are required to take all courses, not just reading and math. They will be assessed on all of those courses, and then would receive a well rounded education. Schools already have in place methods to remediate children who are not mastering content (that's what I teach). Instead of throwing money at the schools who are doing well, perhaps providing money so schools can hire daytime tutors to work with struggling students who can't stay after school for tutoring.
    3. Don't lower standards, but perhaps readjusting what is taught in each grade level may alleviate some of the struggling student problems. Right now many of our younger children are being taught concepts that are developmentally inappropriate. Also, Students are not given enough time to master content before it is time to move on so every standard can be taught before the test.
    4( I may be rambling, but thoughts keep popping into my head). Is it necessary to give a test eight months after the school year begins that will test a year's worth of learning? Either move the test to the end of the year, or just test on eight months of skills.
     
  36. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    We give the children a piece of paper with assorted numbers(or letters). They are to practice looking at the number and then looking at a scan sheet and bubble that number (while staying in the lines)
     
  37. Jackstreet

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    A scathing critique... let's zero in on a few of your points:

    The notion that they didn't put enough forethought presumes a number of things. First, 20/20 vision and that how people would respond to change was absolutely predictable.

    Second, that the steps to resolving the core problems of education reform are fairly easy to discern with some diligent research and planning. Fact is, many of the reform ideas/ strategies that have been implemented over the years came out of exhaustive research, by teams of really smart people at think tanks dedicated to these issues. So clearly there's more to getting this right than research and planning.

    On the subject of harsh consequences, it's probably reasonable to assert that a problem of this magnitude is unlikely to be resolved *without* harsh consequences, given our nature to resist making tough, inconvenient or painful changes. BTW, let's not forget that RTTT uses carrots and sticks.

    Finally, my sense is that the collateral factors you point to...the racial and socioeconomic divide are likely the heart of the problem. ( Duh! As my teenage daughter would say) Trouble is, wading into these areas is so risky, so riddled with land mines, so potentially explosive, so ladened with emotional baggage, that most people, (even people with good intentions) prefer to tip toe around them. Hard to address a problem effectively when large parts of it are not open for honest evaluation and discussion.
     
  38. John Lee

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    Well, you can take it as far as you want to. There are those who think that the system is designed to indoctrinate, to produce naturally compliant citizens. (I personally don't think that's outside the realm of consideration.)

    But from a more concrete perspective: it's profiteering, pure and simple. Just like in that the military/defense industry, having conflict is NOT a bad thing (actually, it's good. And if you take that a tiny step further, would actually creating conflict be outside the realm?)

    You can think of practically ANY industry and this sort of thing applies. Medicine, food, prison, FINANCE... you name it.

    In education, if they (when I say they, I generally mean the federal gov't) would stay out of the way, things would be a whole lot CLEARER. I think we'd all agree on that. Let local people handle educaiton in their specific way. Let parents have some control. We instead have a federal bureacracy that dictates a one-size fits all. Why should a kid in East St. Louis have to have the same prescribed education as a kid in Beverly Hills. Or a kid who comes to school in bare feet living in the sticks in Hawaii? Why should she/he have the same education as the boy or girl who lives in a quiet suburban block in anywhere USA. They're basically saying that local people are incapable... with all the Masters/Ph.D's that we accumulate in every school district in America (as an attempt to move up the Salary Schedule)... that they are either too stupid or too corrupt to handle the education of their students, working hand-in-hand with the community (i.e. parents).

    ...that the federal gov't knows everything. That our "Dear Leaders" will save us, and impart their expertise to us incapable regular folk.
     
  39. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Jackstreet, when you implement such a legislation that will affect the lives of millions and that of future generations it does start with research and planning, just as we sit down and plan our classroom management, rules, and consequences and try to determine the greater good for all of our students.

    And when I say research I'm not speaking about one district full of on-grade level suburban kids. I'm talking about all groups of people and economic statuses. Most research tends to ignore minority groups unless they are researching something specifically about those groups.

    I'm 50/50 with standard research. I take much of it with a grain of salt as it if often twisted to suit the needs of the researchers and their companies. That's why I also said plan, and use all types of other variables and sources, not just often biased research.

    And that's too sad and I agree they are AFRAID to touch those issues because it is so complex, daunting and will open up some horrible wounds for all of America.

    That's why I also often say that eliminating tenure, starting merit pay etc will not have any positive long terms effects on improving education because the root of the problem is being ignored: the breakdown and changes of the family structure, parental involvement, hungry and homeless kids, untreated mentally ill kids, abused kids, the list goes on. The family is the foundation of society. If the family structure is stressed and has changed, then it will affect every other facet of society.

    So when I say research I am also talking about psychological research. I don't exactly know what kind was done, but they need to study things such as the family as the foundation of society, as well as intrinsic motivation as it relates to education and I sincerely doubt that they would have come up with policies anything near NCLB and RTTT had they really focused on the complexities of human nature, neuroscience, and learning.

    What they have in place totally defies, IMO, any respected studies of how humans interact, learn, develop, and grow.

    As they continue to completely 100% ignore the social issues, it's just going to continue to spread like a chronic disease and kill the good cells that were once functional.
     
  40. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Jan 29, 2011

    Utterly mind boggling. Let's just say that whoever came up with that idea should not only be fired, but they should also have to reimburse the school district for the wasted instructional time.
     
  41. Jackstreet

    Jackstreet Companion

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    Jan 29, 2011

    Well.... history's short answer to your question is, we tried that and it didn't work.

    1. But for federal gov't "getting in the way" we might still be pursing the education policy of "separate but equal."

    2. The verdict is in...The reason some 40 plus states have signed on to the notion of common core standards is essentially the recognition that we need some national agreement about what is needed for a 21st century education.
     
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