August 17, 2005

Teacher's view of NCLB

Peter Robinson, over at the Corner, offers some notes from his high school reunion:

“The idea of leaving no child behind,” my old classmate explained, “has focussed more and more resources on the worst students.” Budgets have ballooned for special ed—special instructors, special classrooms, special textbooks and equipment—while starving budgets for mainstream instruction. “In my AP English class,” my old classmate continued, “only about half the students really belong. But I have to carry the other half even so.”

“No child left behind?” said the retired English teacher, one of the finest teachers I’ve ever encountered. “But there are kids who deserve to be left behind.” The legislation may have mandated strict new tests, but the pressure on teachers to ensure that all their students pass those tests means that in practiced public education gets dumbed down, not smartened up.

I've heard similar sentiments regarding that first paragraph. Somehow, the educational theorists think that by suddenly placing low-achieving students in AP (that's "Advanced Placement," folks) classes, their academic achievement will miraculously be improved. Oh, right -- kids who can barely read at, say, a third grade level will now be expected to write a five-page paper on The Enlightenment. The smarts of those high-achieving students will be magically "absorbed" these low-achieving kids.

I know many teachers. I also know why most of them guffaw at the educational "experts" that talk to them at conferences and inservices.

Posted by Felix at August 17, 2005 09:32 AM | TrackBack

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