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To Scrap or Not Scrap: That's the Wrong Question


Over at New Talk, the usual suspects are discussing the question: Should we scrap No Child Left Behind?

Although the debate is interesting, you won't be surprised by the answers. Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute and Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute say yes. Former Bush adviser Sandy Kress, eduwonk Andy Rotherham, Stanford's Eric Hanushek, and several others say no. All of them want changes, but they would keep much of its core principles intact.

Isn't NewTalk asking the wrong question of the wrong people?

The real question is: What will the next version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act look like?

And here are the people I'd want to answer it: Barack Obama, George Miller, Ted Kennedy, Linda Darling-Hammond, Jon Schnur, and the next U.S. secretary of education (if that person isn't already listed above).

Those people aren't ready to answer that question, at least publicly. When they are, I'll be back to the daily grind of blogging.


I don't think that getting rid of the NCLB would help our education system. But maybe adding some small modifications to it. such as adding extra curricula activities towards passing, so it doesn't put as much stress on the children by only taking a test to determine if they advance to the next grade. What does everyone else think?

Hey Seth, I'm not sure what you mean about adding extra curricula activites to determine promotion, but I'll tell you what I am sure of. If parents/guardians want the best outcome for their child, then they should supplement any "extra" the school does not offer. The problem is that parents are NOT aware of the shortcomings of their child's education, be it technology, the school focusing on math and reading while teaching science and social studies half a year, outdated or dumbied down reading material in the library, or a teacher who is experiencing "profession remorse." I would like to know exactly who in Washington or the state of Georgia honestly knows what is going on at my school with my child. Parents know how his or her child did on state tests, but they do not know what it really means. I believe the problem lies mostly in the household of primary stakeholders. Let me explain: after our children take a test we are told that he/she meets, does not meet, or exceeds standards. Why not give us a "rank" as to where our child stands amongst his/her peers at the school, district, and/or state level?
I truly believe parents are not given enough information to understand the relativity of a "score," which may be why some don't get involved because they trust and believe their child is doing fine, unless they don't meet the standards. I have found one interesting characteristic of parents, we are highly competitive and we do not like it if a child receives something and our child never had the opportunity to get it. Perhaps, if we were honest and disclosed actual scores of all of the children in a school district, parents would demand more of administrators, local school boards, and government. If we disclosed more standings and comparisons to the primary stakeholders, then parents/guardians might understand the relativity of their child's education as to other children his/her age. Until then, a score is simply a score that we really have no way of knowing the significance of, and the federal government is the one who is telling us if the education process for our children is sufficient or not. Why not let parents be the judge of their child's education, which will surely result from a universal inter or intra district voucher program. Why not put education back in the hands of the primary stakeholders, parents/guardians?

I agree Kathy, Us of Ed should mandate that parents are apart of the process for learning since we are the first teachers. We are the primary stakeholders. NCLB should have more accountability on engaging parents. We should be able to sit with lawmakers and let them know what we think should be changed in order for our children to succeed. The federal goverment never lisen to parents about education. Section 1118 of NCLB should have more accountabilty to give parents the right to be apart of the development of all programs. AYP is a joke because as you stated its not enough information. The sad part about it, the districts are not informing parents on how to help your child on a everyday basis. They only care at test time. I hope that lawmakers invite parents in the low performing districts to ask their input on what needs to be changed in order to help our children succceed. Don't rely on the States to do it.

Very well said Tia. Have you ever wondered the core reason for not "really" involving parents? I realize there are many reasons or theories as to why, but I believe the bottom line might be that decison makers at every level in the education process enjoy being the "ones" who decide which students they will build up for success, the ones they just move through the process, and which ones who will remain the janitor, the waitress, the maid or the peach, cotton, or pecan pickers. If parents were actually invited into the process they might see just how equitable the system actually is. Somebody has to be at the bottom of the pecking order, and if we don't involve paernts, who else do you suppose is deciding which students will have social mobility, power, and/or presteige, and which ones will remain as service providers?

Dear David and Kathy,

I think America has forgotten about the children. NCLB has became a money pot for education. In 1965 when the ESEA Act was created it was suppose to help children who parents did not have the resources or the funding to help their children receive a quailty education. The school districts have forgotten what the Act orginally was created for. Schoolwide programs can work if we involve everyone. The law mandates that you use at least 1% of the allocation for parental involvement. What parents don't realize that the districts can use more funding for parent involvement to help parent acheive more knowledge if they choose too. Instead they are using it for salaries, and the real sad part is parental involvement has declined across america. Parents have lost faith in the public school systems. What can we do as parents to increase the right to engage parents more effectively in this process? The lawmakers should require results for parent involvement. Parents will come out if they feel that their opinion counts. How can we be apart of the process? Who in Washington will stand up for the everyday hard working parent? How can this country help our parents in education since they are bailing out everyone else? How important are the children of America? Someone has to fight for their rights and parents need to wake up and realize no one cares about your child but you!

Yes Tia,I agree whole heartedly with you. I am in the process of finding out just which parents are involved to represent the Title I parents at our Title I schools here in Warner RObins.
The sysstem hired parents to check off the box of sect. 1118 of NCLB and some of those "parent coordinators" don't even have kids in the Title I school.
I'm waiting for the data from the district and then I'm going to report the data.
I am trying to get folks to listen to the NonTitle I parents and letting us set precedence. I believe if other parents see what some parents are able to get than they will come. However, nobody has to listen to parents whose children do not attend the Title I schools. In Georgia we have HB 605 that gave us the "right" to be involved in the creation and updating the Codes of Conduct. Think about that.....parents being part of the discipline consequences and processes.
The problem with state legislation: I have asked to be on that committee no less than three years now while attending public BOE meeting, but I have been ignored. No parent has penetrated the system and no parent is trusted, and the school system continues to do what it wants.
Vouchers, all around....let a principal tell me what he or she will do for my son and how they will allow me into the decision making process...than I can hand the best candidate my son's voucher and I will even provide transportation. I'm talking Inter district choice as well as intra district choice.
Until parents get the vouchers, we have NO leverage because in Georgia the state constitution sanctions all of the power, for the day to day operations of schools, to the local BOE and superintendent.

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Recent Comments

  • Kathy: Yes Tia,I agree whole heartedly with you. I am in read more
  • Tia Shepherd: Dear David and Kathy, I think America has forgotten about read more
  • Kathy: Very well said Tia. Have you ever wondered the core read more
  • Tia Shepherd: I agree Kathy, Us of Ed should mandate that parents read more
  • Kathy: Hey Seth, I'm not sure what you mean about adding read more



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