Teacher to Congress: Listen Up
As the discussion over the reauthorization of NCLB heats up, one New York educator wants to be heard. Nancy Close, a health teacher from East Islip, Long Island, writes in a Newsday commentary this week, “It’s important that Congress listen to teachers and, make sure that, this time, it gets the law right.” Without deeper consideration, Close fears, “…Congress could make a problematic law even worse.”
The unrelenting focus on test scores, she writes, is draining the creativity from teaching and learning. “Children and their schools are so much more than test scores…Yet, it appears the House Education and Labor Committee remains to be convinced.” According to Close, NCLB is “failing children and local schools, stigmatizing both with unfair sanctions driven by unscientific methods of adequate yearly progress.” She suggests a refocus on class size, teacher training and retention, access to early childhood programs, and funding for school facilities and materials.
“Teachers—and children—need the law to work. But it can’t work if it excludes the wisdom of teachers.” Close, a union teacher, is president of the East Islip Teachers Association. She visited the House Education and Labor Committee earlier this month.