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Obama Joins Chorus Saying NCLB Narrows Curriculum

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On the question of whether NCLB is narrowing schools' curriculum, put Sen. Barack Obama in the yes column. In a Feb. 28 appearance in Beaumont, Texas, the Illinois Democrat is emphatic on the point. (Below, watch the video his campaign posted on YouTube.)

"Since the only thing that's being tested is math and reading, we're not teaching children a broad range of things," he said at a rally in Beaumont, Texas, on Feb. 28. "I want kids to learn art and music and history and civics and a whole host of other things."

Broadening the curriculum will yield dividends, he said, because children can understand math by studying music. "Children who get physical education are better focused in the classroom," he said.

He also suggested that testing should happen at the beginning of the school year so the results can help the teacher and that accountability decisions should be made based on student growth.

Once he finished talking about NCLB and other education issues, Obama turned his attention to parents: "It doesn't matter how much money we put in [to schools] if parents don't parent," he said. Joanne Jacobs wonders if Obama would name Bill Cosby his secretary of education.

4 Comments

To help determine which districts have a tendency to compromise core curriculum, other math and reading, one simply can look at state and local standardized test scores. I truly hope somebody turns to parents because even though Georgia laws mandate parent participation in the education process we are still ignored in processes that include, but not limited to developing and updating codes of conduct,school calendar, dress codes, extra curricular activities, budget, graduation and facilty use.
If parents are allowed in the education process I believe some are fearful that they will no longer have the centralized power to do whatever they deem necessary to achive the federal government's AYP mandate, and that is the major focus under NCLB.

Regarding Obama's comment on parenting, only in education would we find that controversial.

"It doesn't matter how much money we put into education if parents don't parent."

In what bizarro reality would we deny that? Obama is speaking the truth that our generation didn't dare utter. Ask the kids who have been victims of lousy parenting.

it doesn't matter how much money we put in schools if teachers don't (or can't) teach (effectively)

our schools are a mess but those directly responsible for their performance shift the blame to parents, poverty, underfunding, testing

While I am not an Obama supporter, He brings a very important point to light! NCLB, while flawed in many ways, has brought many to accountability! Students that would have just been put in SPED are now recieving the support they need! I would hate to see all aspects of NCLB left behind. DON'T QUIT READING YET....

More importantly though is the fact that NCLB has greatly narrowed teaching. I feel as if I hardly am able to do the fun, educational activities that students truly remember...

As a teacher who must administer alternative assessment, it is beyond frustrating to have to basically stop instruction and put together a portfolio that does not show anything other than that a student can accomplish a task. It needs to show growth -- Which is exactly what the IEP does. It would be a much better use of time if we have to continue this process if we were allowed to turn in a portfolio of thier IEP to show growth -- not just something a student can accomplish.

Finally, to the statement about parenting. Parents and teachers must work as a team. If the parents can't/won't parent and a teacher teaches, it is not nearly as effective and beneficial for the student. On the flip side, if a teacher can't/won't teach well, and a parent is "parenting" the student will again benefit nearly what they could have otherwise. The only difference between the two is that a parent can be proactive to demand a teacher do better and if this does not occur, has the option of changing schools. (In the school district I work for, the parents have strong voice and a teacher could find themselves with out a job if they don't correct poor teaching practices)

The effective teacher, however, has no option if a parent is not supportive other than to do the best they can.

The bottom line is that no matter who is in office we can't solely blame them for problems in education -- they may (and probably do) play a big part in things. But Parents and Teachers have an even bigger impact on the students as we see them daily...

We need to quit playing the blame game. As much as we would like to have a perfect world, we don't and must make lemonade out of those lemons (NCLB, poor parenting, poor teaching)that come our way.

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