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The Real Story in Schools Struggling with NCLB

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We’ve all heard the complaints about what the federal No Child Left Behind Act forces schools to do: cut out music, art, and even social studies, teach to the test, scrap recess. This study from last year out of the Center on Education Policy raised the issue from a national perspective, finding that a significant number of schools were indeed paring back on some subjects to focus on the reading and math tested by the federal law. But it’s rare that information leaks out from individual schools detailing their less politically correct strategies when it comes to annual testing and the fear of not making Adequate Yearly Progress and facing sanctions. That’s why this story in The Washington Post is so interesting. Turns out the principal of this Rockville, Md. middle school asked teachers to list students and cross out the names of those who would have no problem passing the state tests and those who were very unlikely to pass the tests. Those students who might be able to pass the state tests with some additional help got extra tutoring, while the students who lagged far behind did not.

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Isn't that standard practice? The student "product" the canned programs and "teaching to the test" caused by the current politcal climate has produced a generation of apathetic, passionless, uncreative/inventive non-critical thinking young people.
Who profits from the continual collection, retrieval, analysis, scoring, and reguritation of the mountains of data? Let alone the relentless reinvention of the same tired reading programs that teachers and support staff must be "retrained" to institute, by "expert" publishing representatives.
The latest "best" practice: changing curriculum and student materials to enure and to teach students how to format their answers due to changes in how the vendor and the scoring company processes the materials.
When kindergardeners do not have time to sing, teachers cannot adjust materials for students with special needs, or teach prerequisite basic skills, if we ignore aesthetics and civics-- if we do not value the needs of our children first, we will lose our culture, minds, and hearts.

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