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Teachers: What changes would you like to see in the new, reauthorized version of ESEA?

Comments: 358

I would like to see the federal government fulfill their obligation to pay for what they mandate. In addition, funding at both the federal and state levels need to be made equitable and consistent. It's almost impossible to deliver consistent educational services without a consistent and adequate level of funding.

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charles anderson
New Ulm Education Association #7186
New Ulm, MN

I believe that NCLB should have never been developed and implemented in the first place. I teach ESE high school mathematics, and I have to give my ESE 10th graders the regular version of the 10th grade state test here in Florida. It is terribly unfair for them to have to take this test when they have documented disabilities. Also, I will never be able to reach the bonus pay, other teachers are able to get because my students will never pass a test that is not fair to them. Furthermore, I believe that government officials have no business making education policies, when they are no where near a classroom.

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William Garrett
Polk Ed. Foundation
Frostproof, FL

Low-performing schools come under such incredible scrutiny. However, the teachers and staff of such schools are sometimes the hardest-working, most creative in a district. They get little or no credit for what they do! A change needs to be made that reflects the efforts of the dedicated teachers and staff members at low-performing schools. Instead of a blanket qualifier for AYP, perhaps there needs to be recognition of any improvements, regardless how small. We all work hard ... we all deserve credit, including the students.

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Gregory Merritt
AFT-Wood County
Parkersburg, WV

English language learners require 4-9 years to achieve academic proficency, especially those who are refugees, migrant students, or come from low-literacy regions. Requiring them to pass all exams before they are proficient does not accurately reflect their abilities, teacher instruction or program quality. It shows unfair judgment and no understanding of second language acquisition.

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S Eghigian
Utica
Marcy, NY

No Child Left Behind has not and will not work because the parents haven't been brought into the circle. They must be held accountable for their children’s education, or taxpayers ultimately pay a lot of money for nothing.

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HERBERT BACON
CEDAR HILL, TX

I agree with districts having standards for teacher quality and testing that indicates growth for each student. But let the local districts decide what their school district needs to be successful; far-reaching legislation tends to be a "one size fits all" approach with improvement models that don't really apply. I feel like we've thrown out the baby with the bathwater in trying to align with the current NCLB guidelines. In Minnesota, we like to work within our own community with our district staff to diagnose problems and find solutions that fit us, not an approach that fits a metro school where there are different needs.

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Carrie Robatcek
Education Minnesota - Rocori
Cold Spring, MN

More money for high needs areas and more funds for related special education services.

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Daniel Barnett
UFT
Bronx, NY

Whatever is done, it would be nice to have funding attached to the requirements. It is very difficult to provide children with current information and instruction in the newest methods of communication and learning when the technology is not available. Our school libraries, which used to have decent budgets and could buy some extras, have not even had a budget for three years running. We have no databases, no periodicals, no book budget, and no money for supplies. Multiply this by every classroom teacher and librarian in the same predicament. Why are our children behind? They come that way and we are prevented from helping them succeed.

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Judi Nador
AFT Local 420
Dittmer, MO

I would scrap No Child Left Behind and start again. It has not and it will never be effective. Our children need smaller classes, better programs, and more social workers and nurses available. With our society the way it is, children need to be able to talk about their lives, and people need to be in place to mentor and counsel them. The chaos that our children face from day to day must be addressed. They need to feel safe and secure while learning takes place. When a child has to wonder if he/she will get home safely at the end of the day, learning takes a back seat.

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JoEllen Backstrom
chicago, IL

Repeal NCLB. Return control of education to the individual states where it belongs and where the Constitution puts it. NCLB is bad law, bad education theory, and a really awful title, implying cookie cutter sameness. Our student are unique. And, no, all children cannot and will not achieve at the same high level.

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Edward Holst
Florida Teachers' Association
Florida, NY

I have been at the same at-risk high school teaching math for 11 years now. The training I have received has helped me some; but what concerns me is that, for the last six or more years, the students have been arriving on our campus less and less prepared. It is as if the district is trying to fix everything at the high school level. My plan now is to find a job at a better high school (I'll get paid the same from what I hear). I don't want to be used as a scapegoat, and after what happened in Rhode Island and our President's response to that situation, I am more determined than ever to leave this and all at-risk schools.

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Jonathan Garrison
Arlington, TX

Teachers must be partners in school reform. That means they should be trusted as professionals, not blamed when a school in a poor district does not meet expectations. I have been teaching for 30 years, and I have never seen so much antagonism and distrust of teachers. A barrage of tests increases costs in a way that does not benefit children. Education begins in the home, yet professionals are expected to compensate for poor parenting in ways that are unrealistic. Give teachers more support, not more tests to administer. It takes a few minutes for a good teacher to discern whether or not a child can read. I am a teacher, not a tester.

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Gladys Sedota
Brocton
Fredonia, NY

You’re killing the excitement and love of learning that all children have with the heavy emphasis on testing and drilling. Excellent schools have the arts as an important part of school. Excellent schools create many opportunities for asking questions and the time to figure things out for yourself or in a small group. Experiencing excellence is very important for children so, through field trips and other avenues, they see excellence in all fields. The “wow” factor needs to be there so they can appreciate and aspire. Teachers and students need a more positive, creative, supportive environment. There is too much bean-counter focus and judgment on numbers. Intimate, small groups enable excellence.

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Lynn VanDeusen
Buckeye
Medina, OH

Demands are being made on campuses in Texas that are extraordinarily unfair with regard to recent immigrant students. Students with only 2 years of instruction in the U.S. are tested in English for AYP accountability. In this respect, NCLB's punitive sanctions are especially hard for some of the poorest districts in the country--those near the Mexican border. Research shows that adolescents/adults need 4-6 years to acquire fluency in a new language. Doesn't anyone at the Department of Education look at linguistic research? Immigrant students' state test results shouldn't count for AYP for at least their first 3 years in U.S. schools.

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Douglas Kellar
PSJA
Pharr, TX

No Child Left Behind has virtually ensured that many children are left behind. It fails to acknowledge a student's progress at his own level, or a school's progress in improving its students' achievement unless all subcategories of students show "Adequate Yearly Progress" on state standardized assessments. Students who struggle to read well or write coherently are forced to take these tests with minimal modifications, and the entire school is judged by their failure. We need to recognize the areas where schools are showing progress, not cripple them with punitive threats and actions because of the failure a few.

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David Burks
Fayette County Federation of Teachers
Connersville, IN

Please end NCLB. It is an extremely unfair law holding students accountable for things they are not capable of doing. Let the legislatures take the test and see how they do. When will families be accountable for their children and their behaviors? Teaching sucks because of the unrealistic things expected from teachers. Next year is my last and the only way I will ever come into a school is to see my grandchildren when I have them. Private education plays by different rules and they aren't the answer either.

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Douglas Sawatzky
Willmar Education Association
Willmar, MN

If education reform is ever going to truly be effective, we MUST give the teachers the freedom and professional authority to make the decisions necessary to educate the whole child. Standardized testing is useful if you have a class of standardized students, but that will NEVER be the norm. We are the professionals, not some politician sitting behind a desk. NCLB should be scrapped and a new, more thought-out system, developed by the people who are actually involved in the process, implemented.

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matthew gallagher
marlboro teachers association
marlboro, NY

One of the worst things about NCLB is how much emphasis is placed on testing. I go to high school at the moment and it’s just ridiculous because so much pressure is put on the teacher to go through everything that will be on the tests. They have to rush through everything. They can't ever take their time with a certain subject or chapter that, say, the class finds interesting or is struggling with. To me, that is just harming the education we receive because we're not really getting the best. We're just getting little bits of information from here and there.

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Eduardo Flores
Wichita, KS

As a teacher for over 30 years now I'd like to see more money re-directed to teachers and the classroom. Why should an administrator make more money than the professionals that are actually doing the job in the classroom?

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John Persichilli
Many Farms, AZ

I would like to see testing requirements for special education students changed. Testing a student with a full scale IQ of 75-80 with a grade level test when they are performing 2-3 grade levels below grade level is cruel. I would like to see more appropriate testing that can actually determine how a student is performing instead of simply reinforcing that the test is one more thing that they are unable to do.

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Jennifer McElroy
Minisink Valley Teachers' Association
Middletown, NY

I have not seen any components dealing with the student and his/her parent(s)/guardians. I do not want to be held accountable for a student's progress when that student might miss 40 days each school year. I do not want to be held accountable when the parent/guardian does not bother to show up for comprehensive student assistance meetings with school personnel or respond to phone calls. Worse yet, when one is told, "He's your problem. I don't know what to do with him." I don't want to be held accountable when the student fails to do homework or seek help when they are having problems with the subject matter. We all must be accountable.

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Sharon Mervin
PFT
Levittown, PA

If the nation is indeed committed to No Child Left Behind, then why is the federal government, as well as state and local governments, allowing charter schools (which are receiving public moneys) to leave certain children behind by permitting these "so-called" schools to use enrollment practices that are clearly aimed at taking only the best students? We need legislation (and enforcement) that will make charter schools which receive public funds accountable to the same level that the public schools are held to, and which make their practices as transparent as well.

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Matthew Chartan
Cold Spring Harbor TA
Cold Spring Harbor, NY

It is not fair to tie student progress to teacher pay. If you teach low level children who do not even understand English or who refuse to even try to progress, who have disinterested parents or no parents, just foster parents, then it is not your fault if the students do not catch on. Also, how will you tie an art teacher or a librarian to a plan like this, and if you cannot, then it is not fair to tie some and not others to a plan that connects student progress to teacher compensation.

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Verne Stout
Verne Stout
Dunedin, FL

I would like to see the whole mess done away with! Requiring teachers to teach to a test does a dissservice to both teachers and students, encourages rote memorization instead of critical thinking, and stifles the ability of teachers to use their own individual skills, talents and creativity to teach.

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Patricia Gallagher
AFT-WV 08046
Barboursville, WV

I would like to see less standardized testing and more focus on learning. Stop blaming teachers. Mandate lower caseloads for teachers and for school counselors. Give educators real and meaningful feedback-- tell us what we do well, how we can improve and then give us the resources and support we need in order to do our jobs. Yes, we need to have standards, but we also need to be able to take into account individual learning styles, cultural differences, language barriers, medical issues, mental illness, and other extenuating circumstances that prevent kids from being successful in school. Give us the resources and support we need.

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Jennifer Finch-Mitchell
Rochester, MN

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