From the Washington Post:
The Obama administration will seek to scrap a key metric in the eight-year-old No Child Left Behind law — the standard of “adequate yearly progress” for public schools — as it develops a new formula to hold schools accountable for student performance, according to a budget document made public Monday.
Under the law, schools are rated on how many of their students pass state reading and math tests. Target pass rates rise each year toward a standard of universal proficiency by 2014 for all groups — a goal experts have long called utopian.
The twin concepts of adequate yearly progress, known as AYP, and the 2014 target for eliminating achievement gaps by race, ethnicity and family income are the bedrock of the public school accountability system. Schools in the Washington area and elsewhere for years have felt the sting of failing to “meet AYP,” with consequences ranging up to state-ordered interventions for those that perennially fall short.
No Child Left Behind sounded great on paper and had bi-partisan support. After all, who wants to leave some kids behind. The bi-partisan support quickly died off once NCLB left Congress, the president’s desk and landed squarely in the school house.
Northern Virginia schools were hit hard by NCLB. The 4 main subgroups used to determine AYP are economically disadvantaged, minority, ESOL, and special ED. The influx of immigrant children into the system made making AYP very difficult for some schools because many immigrant families were often poor, minority and in need of ESOL services. The federal ‘hit’ became threefold. (or if special ed also, fourfold) Tremendous pressure has been put on schools to make AYP. At one point, there was threat of losing federal funding. No principal wanted low test scores or to not show progress. Several principals in Prince William County lost their job because of low school wide test scores. Others moved on to greener pastures where the pressure wasn’t quite so strong. Obviously, those principals in the schools where the kids had the greatest needs were the most at risk.
Parents probably have no idea how much of the school day revolves around the school making AYP. They probably have no idea how many resources go in to jumping through the federal hoops. It isn’t advertised. The concentration of school energy on to the 4 major subgroups needs to be redirected. Those kids who are just average joes need to get the attention for a while as well as their share of the pie.
Good for the Obama adminstration if they tweek NCLB so it helps kids who need a boost without taking away from average kids. The AYP must be de-emphasised. The excessive testing must stop. Educators must not be subjected to this insane obsession with making AYP when the average person in the system cannot even figure out what numbers are needed to perform. The federal guns need to be put away and schools need to get back to normal.
No Child Left Behind, oddly enough, was championed by President George Bush and Senator Edward Kennedy. I don’t think either of them ever realized the monster they unleashed on the education system nation wide.
The Obama administrations plans the following, according to the Post:
“The reauthorization plan would replace ‘adequate yearly progress’ with a broader picture of school performance that looks at student growth and school progress,” the document states. “States would measure school performance and differentiate schools on the basis of progress in getting all subgroups of students on track to CCR [college and career readiness], the growth of individual students toward CCR, progress toward closing subgroup achievement gaps, graduation rates (at the high school level) and other measures as appropriate.”
That sounds to me like more educational-ese. The NY Times reported Sunday that the 2014 deadline for 100% pass rate was going to be repealed. However, Education Secretary Duncan stated that no decision had been reached. This administration needs to prioritize this bad legislation and make it go away. I suggest repealing the entire act. So far, no child has been left with a BEHIND. There are just some things that cannot be fixed. This legislation is one of those things.
Put that dog back on the leash!