Friday, February 10, 2012

NCLB Finally Left Behind?

"Obama frees 10 states from No Child Left Behind" is one of the headlines in my local paper this morning. The idea that this myopic legacy of the Bush-era could be finally disappearing is something that many of us have been hoping for since its inception. Never before in the history of the field of Education has such a misguided and damaging piece of legislature been enacted. To imagine people thought that individual as well as institutional success could be measure by a single test is beyond belief to those of us involved in a system of education that should be educating all students in all aspects of the human endeavor.

Teachers and schools certainly need to be held accountable for the work they do but there are so many better ways of doing this than mass testing where everyone is treated as if they had the same beginnings in life. Although somewhat cumbersome, the Vermont portfolio process was a valiant attempt at identifying authentic growth and development of individual students as well as schools.

A common complaint is that the standards set by NCLB were completely unrealistic. It was a bit like saying that all 10th grade students should be able to run a mile in four minutes or that all third graders should be at least four feet tall. Now we can focus on all students and provide them with effective and and appropriate educational experiences in all subject areas and not just those that are tested.

Perhaps we can return the joy and creativity to the act of teaching. 

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