Saturday, September 24, 2011

Teachers Make the Difference, Not NCLB

"There will be a special memorial service for the departed friend of all public educators throughout the US. Our good friend and motivation for all we are struggling with in the schools of this country has been laid to rest. Rest in peace "No Child Left Behind". We owe so much to you.

  1. Learning standards
  2. core curriculum standards
  3. assessments, assessments and more assessments
  4. teacher and principal evaluation systems
  5. the drain on educational creativity
  6. and the derailment of true 21 st Century education
  7. and the angst, anguish and anxiety of children that must take these tests to prove something
NCLB is survived by three presidents, four secretaries of education, and a host of corporations that made their business fortunes in developing tests, psychometrics,consultants, workshops, and a slew of testing manuals that are too numerous to mention here. The big business of waging war on a mythical gap of achievement that NCLB was supposed to address was quite profitable for many people, including our political leaders, and corporate stockholders. But, the more aggrieved parties are the thousands of children that were victimized by this penchance to be tested and to perform to an arbitrary standard.

Unfortunately, the legacy of NCLB will be with us for many years, and on Friday, 9/23/2011 the real issue at the center of its existence was the lack of money. President Obama has discovered it cannot be managed in the same manner that it was originally conceived. For the states to take ownership of any accountability system is the best news to come out of Washington in many years. But, what will be the assurance that they can manage it any better.

In reality, the true learning accountability system that will make a difference in closing gaps, differences or needs will be the system that revolves around the teacher and student, not a bureaucracy. Only a classroom teacher can make the difference and create a truly unique learning environment that will emphasize qualitative and quantitative accountability. Where children will feel respected and able to learn on their terms and when they are ready, not because the State has willed it to happen at some arbitrary time.

Here's hoping that our political leaders will focus on something they can make a difference with, such as the economy and world peace, and leave education to the people that are trained to manage and perform in it.