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Parent Twist On NCLB

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NCLB’s demands that schools perform at certain academic levels may have missed the mark when it comes to what many parents value the most, according to a Brigham Young University co-authored study as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune.

The study found that when given a choice, parents in wealthier schools preferred high-satisfaction teachers who would make their children happy, to high-achieving ones who might raise test scores. Conversely, parents at poorer schools preferred high-achieving teachers to high-satisfaction ones.


Parental preferences come down to differences in schools, where poorer schools often face more academic strife than wealthier ones, the study concludes. Study co-author and BYU economics professor Lars Lefgren says the takeaway for policymakers is that NCLB is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

3 Comments

Very interesting findings. I wonder how this fits into sort of a hierarchy of need? In wealthier schools where academic achievement is much more of a given can parents afford to pay greater attention to some of the finer points of personality and "fit?"

This does align with most of the findings that what "works," tends to have the greatest impact on those at the lowest end of the scale. "One-size-fits-(or doesn't)all" is way overused, but I don't quite see how it applies here. All parents want the things that make for achievement. Some have a banquet and choose their favorites. Others have to pick and choose among the leftovers.

Great post, Margo. Just wanted to agree with you.

What makes my son happy is learning. He wants to be engaged, he wants a teacher that understands his learning style and knows how to teach to it.

When he does not get this he appears to be uninterested but it is because he needs more interaction, he wants someone that lets him expand on his talent and ideas.

One of his teachers for example did this. She was his English teacher and she allowed him to write about anything as long as it fulfilled the learning objective for that specific assignment.

She did not have to agree with his opinion of the fact that it may have been an unpleasant topic, but he did fulfill the objective and that was the most important part of the lesson.

He flourishes in a learning environment where the standards are high but the lessons are meaningful and not trying to achieve some artificial purpose as is found so often in the politics of education.

So I do not know what part of this spectrum we would fit in. We are kind of poor and wealthy at the same time. What is wealthy? We are worth 1.2 million. I think that learning is important, and when you are really learning, I mean using your mind, critically thinking, aiming for a higher standard of knowledge and understanding about the world, wouldn't that make some of use happy?

As a parent I want a high achieving teacher which and high satisfaction teacher. I cannot understand how the two are inseparable.

However, there is one caveat, do higher scores really mean that the student has learned? Right now that is a significant issue - that is, do those state standards tests that measure achievement really measure learning?

In our state of Georgia, our state's standards tests are well below the NAEP standard. A student can pass the the Criterion Referenced tests (CRCT used for grades 3-8) and still not have the reading skills needed for high school. A high school student can pass the High School Graduation test with elementary level reading and writing skills. So does it make me happy that our children would be high achievers on such a substandard test? So for me, what is important is the quality of what our children learn, how well they can apply it as well as the knowledge base they need to be successful in whatever they want to do.

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  • Anonymous: What makes my son happy is learning. He wants to read more
  • tim: Great post, Margo. Just wanted to agree with you. read more
  • Margo/Mom: Very interesting findings. I wonder how this fits into sort read more

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