Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Obama Doubles Down On NCLB

President Accountability announced his NCLB re-authorization today.

He wants to have all teachers evaluated according to test scores, all schools rated according to test scores, and the "lowest" 10% closed down - including really good schools in affluent districts if those schools are not seeing big gains in test scores for students from lower income backgrounds in the schools.

Here's the worst of the "far-reaching" changes Obama proposes:

Under the current law, testing focuses on measuring the number of students who are proficient at each grade level. The administration instead wants to measure each student’s academic growth, regardless of the performance level at which they start.

Under the proposals, schools would also be judged on whether they are closing achievement gaps between poor and affluent students. No sanctions exist now for schools that fail in this area. Under the new proposals, states would be required to intervene even in seemingly high-performing schools in affluent districts where test scores and other indicators identify groups of students who are languishing, administration officials said.

The proposals would require states to use annual tests and other indicators to divide the nation’s nearly 100,000 public schools into several groups: some 10,000 to 15,000 high-performing schools that could receive rewards or recognition; some 10,000 failing or struggling schools requiring varying degrees of vigorous state intervention; about 5,000 schools that would be required to narrow unacceptably wide achievement gaps; and perhaps 70,000 or so schools in the middle that would be encouraged to figure out on their own how to improve.

The administration’s proposals would also rework the law’s teacher-quality provisions by requiring states to develop evaluation procedures to distinguish effective instructors, partly based on whether their students are learning. These would replace the law’s current emphasis on certifying that all teachers have valid credentials, which has produced little except red tape, officials said.

The current law requires states to adopt “challenging academic standards” to receive federal money for poor students under a section known as Title I. But states are allowed to define “challenging,” and many set standards at mediocre levels. Last month, President Obama proposed requiring states to adopt “college- and career-ready standards” to qualify for the $14 billion Title I program. The administration proposes that new federal education dollars be provided to states as competitive grants, rather than through per-pupil formulas.

The Times article has both Harkin and Miller - the heads of the Senate and House committees - saying they like the proposals and everything should go through.


More testing, more school closures, more fear-based policy-making, and more fear-based teaching.

That's doubling down on NCLB, not changing the law for the better.

For some reason Arne Duncan says the punitive measures of NCLB are gone in this Obama re-do.

How is that?

Teachers and administrators will be fired if they do not raise the test scores of their students, schools will closed if the test scores of their students do not go up, and states will only get Title 1 money by showing the Obama administration how "innovative" they are - in other words, the Race to the Top competitive grants are going to be enshrined in the new education law every year and districts are going to have to do what the administration wants, like tie tenure and evaluations to test scores and open lots of charter schools in order to qualify for Title 1 money.

And for some reason known only to the Great Obama, schools that are already doing well on their measurements will receive more money while schools that are not doing well will be closed or re-structured a la Duncan's policy in Chicago and Bloomberg's here in NYC.

This is really really bad.

Any teacher who voted for Obama who still supports this man needs to have his or her head examined.

Within a few years, the entire public school system - both urban and suburban - will have been destroyed by Obama and Duncan.

We can only hope some people in Congress come to their senses and put a stop to this.

But I am not optimistic about that.

We can also hope that the teachers unions - the AFT and the NEA - come to their senses and say publicly that Obama is now the enemy.

No more of this "at least we're at the table" bullshit.

Here is how the Times characterized their reactions:

And while leading Congressional Democrats praised the plan, the nation’s two major teachers unions did not. “We are disappointed,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said of the proposal, “From everything that we’ve seen, this blueprint places 100 percent of the responsibility on teachers and gives them zero percent of the authority.”

Can't believe I'm writing this, but Randi is exactly right.

Now she and Van Roekel need to do something about this.

Ranking teachers by "value-added" measures that gauge teachers on whether their students go up on their scores or not is a horrible way to evaluate teachers.

Just ask Accountable Talk.

UPDATE: BTW, let's call the Obama re-authorization NCLB II. Obama and Duncan want the name changed because they think people will be fooled into believing the punitive measures of NCLB are gone if the name to the law is changed.

So let's make sure we call this what it is - No Child Left Behind II

Or No Child Left Behind Jr.

Or Obama's No Child Left Behind.

The point is, all the worst provisions from NCLB - the testing, the punitive measures - remain or have been made worse by President Obama.

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