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

Comments: 358

NCLB should be done away with, as should Obama's new plan (NCLB-2). Charter schools were meant to be models of what works, NOT "competition" for the public schools. Free markets in education do NOT work! Read this article explaining what's wrong with Obama's approach: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2010/01/the_secrets_of_charter_school.html

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Paul Roesler
SCCCFA
St. Peters, MO

While I support the basic concept of No Child Left Behind, I have problems with the Equal Testing of All. For several years my daughter worked as educational interpreter for the deaf in the Milwaukee Public School System. Because deaf language (American Sign Language) doesn't follow English sentence structure, having them tested, for example in reading, just like their hearing peers wasn't appropriate. This brought the schools test scores down, and they were on the list of schools to be improved. This happens to all schools with children with differing abilities as well as ESL students. Testing needs to be modified to meet the needs of all.

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Kris McPhail
Milwaukee, WI

I would like to see SPED students receive services that are for their specific needs. An ED program should be an ED program, a self-contained SLD class should be a self-contained class. Students cannot be placed out of regular education classes for adverse behaviors unless documentation proves otherwise, and they should then be placed in a class specially designed for behavior problems. I would also like to see parents be held equally responsible for the continued education of their children. Public behavior, manners, respect for authority, peers, and other adults needs to be addressed in the home. Let's work with teachers not against them.

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Joanne Zeidler
BTU
Dundalk, MD

The only problem I had with NCLB was that, the federal government did not fund this program. Now let’s look at the big picture in Chicago. Mayor Daley has his hands around our necks. His is destroying our childern’s education by hiring people who have no background in Education. Our schools are failing miserably (What happen to the three R's) as soon as someone pulls a idea out of their hat we go for it. This is a shame. I look at so much money going out the window. Instead of closing school, we should cap high schools @ 500 students per school. You know Chicago is breaking the law by with these selective enrolment schools.

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Marsha Johnson
Local 1
Chicago, IL

I would involve the parents, grandparents and anyone else who can help a teacher to educate students. I would not leave the education to just the teacher; it is a joint effort on everyone’s part to educate children.

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Jackie Cantrell
DeRidder, LA

As a 26-year-plus teacher of children with severe and profound mental handicaps, I find it ironic that legislators feel they can make laws that leave no child behind. No matter how many laws you make, you can't legislate away the bell curve of intelligence. Testing these children or considering basing my pay on their performance doesn't make much sense. I also see the negative effects of high-stakes testing on my colleagues and their students in the mainstream. Unfortunately, much valuable time that could be spent educating children is spent preparing for tests because of the tremendous strain of possible failure.

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Debra Roach
Education Minnesota- Cloquet
Cloquet, MN

We need a family component to help support schools in helping their children be successful. Also other means to gage success than test scores! These tests do not reflect student achievement.

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Becky Ghrist
Pikeland
Pittsfield, IL

More ongoing support for teacher training needed (see the NYT Magazine section article on Sunday March 7, 2010, which gave excellent suggestions for mentoring and improving classroom techniques for teachers). Mentoring teachers to enhance classroom management and techniques to gain children's attention and perseverance at learning tasks. USE THOSE SUGGESTIONS for teacher support.

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Alice Honig
Syracuse, NY

I would love to see more funding for reduced class sizes in K-3. I would also like to see funding included for teachers in K-3 to have a dedicated paraprofessional or assistant to work in the classroom to provide for more individualized instruction. People seem to forget that students cannot succeed in the upper grades unless they have a good foundation. One teacher with 25 students and no help leaves some students without the individualized instruction needed to promote success.

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Rachel Faciane
St. Tammany Federation of Teachers
Slidell, LA

Special education students should not be required to take these tests at their grade levels due to low cognitive skills. It is unfair to expect these students to make the yearly progress projected by NCLB.

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audra raulinaitis
Indian Springs School District 109
Romeoville, IL

I would like to see the punishment portion of the ESEA lessened to a great degree. The assumption that is contained in the bill that teachers are pretty much the only ones at fault is misleading. It just isn't that simple. Also reverting to unproven charter school systems does not necessarily work well either. The problem is far more complex than that.

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Clifton Ogle
OKCAFT
Warr Acres, OK

The program needs to be redrawn so the students work up to the expected standard levels starting with Kindergarten. To expect a student that has been passed on to the next level each year while not making grade standards pass an exit exam is wrong. The exit exam must account for the many years of not being taught. Instructors must pass personal assessments based upon their students outcomes. They need to pass these measures continually and be reassessed regularly. We need to have a system to weed out the ineffective teachers.

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Nola Timms
AFT 1521a
Wilmington, CA

Our government needs to omit AYP from ESEA; it is difficult to meet AYP year after year as the stick gets higher. The vast amount of pressure our school faces and our educators are put under(which translates to stress on students) is unreal! Also, government should not mandate anything that they cannot adequately fund.

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Lori Weigand
Revere Education Association
Bath, OH

All federal mandates must be fully funded by the federal government. Struggling schools must be supported, not punished. Studies in Chicago have shown that closing schools DOES NOT help students in underperforming schools. The students often end up in schools that have the same core problems as the schools that were closed. All-important test scores do not show a great improvement.

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Allison Moulton
CTU Local 1
Chicago, IL

NCLB? There will always be someone left behind because of a lack of ability/skills. Some CHOOSE to be left behind because they do not help themselves. Changes I would make include: Drop AYP. Look at the PROGRESS the individual school has achieved. Secondly, STOP the constant testing. In Philadelphia, we hammer the kids with test preparation for approximately 2/3 of their day for months! We already have Acuity/Benchmarks. Special needs children should be tested on their individual (IEP) INSTRUCTIONAL level. We know they are not on level. Why frustrate them, and us? Why pass a saw to MEET their NEEDS when we are booby-trapping their success?

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Maria DiBenedetto
PFT
Philadelphia, PA

While I have no specific changes, I would like to see the focus of ESEA change from being punitive, to helpful. Underperforming schools are usually a socio-economic problem, rather than one of curriculum or teacher quality.

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Kathleen Dworman
roseville federation of teachers
Farmington Hills, MI

I would like to see education return to teaching & not test taking skills. Teaching is sooooooo messed up by the politicians, I don't even know where to begin to fix it.

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Jamie Culvahouse
Amarillo, TX

As a special ed teacher for emotionally and behaviorally disabled students, it is disheartening to have this student population lumped together with general ed students and expected/required to meet skills that are beyond their capabilities. To be constantly tested with tests that either are well above or well below current student levels does nothing more than discourage, frustrate and remind students of their inadequacies. Requiring special ed educators to complete requirements that do not relate to the realities of their students' lives is a time, resource, intellectual and emotional waste of effort. Teaching is art not science!

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Ross Pegler
TALC
Fort Myers, FL

Eliminate the editing section from the 7th grade ELA test; in its place, have students write an essay (an extended response). Rationale: Editing is more efficiently learned when students find their own mistakes. An essay at the 7th grade level would be consistent with the 6th and 8th grade ELA tests. (note: In attached photo, I am playing guitar)

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Jim Cain
Haverling Teachers Assn.
Bath, NY

the most important change would be a reduction in class size, especially for the more challenging school populations. Nothing can be accomplished without a lot of 1:1 interactions between students and teachers. I would also like to see the end of all the English as aSecond Language programs. Children need to be immersed in, and learn, the English language. Sadly the way the programs are structured today, immigrant children are often left insufficiently literate in both their native language and in English. I was an immigrant child and would have been left behind if learning English first had not been stressed.

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anne atlas
uft
Teaneck, NJ

Many NCLB items need to be revamped starting with AYP. There is a reason all children do not make AYP- it has nothing to do with the amount of time expended by their teacher or even the amount of students present in a class.There is no accountability or by in by the student or their parent.It's disappointing that the teachers are judged on their performance and the parent and child don't have to be responsible in any way for the child's performance.I understand the world has changed but someone at home has to review what is taught in the classroom in order to insure that the children realize they are responsible for certain concepts.

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Sandy Wheeler
TALC
Lehigh Acres, FL

I would like the required classes to be readjusted. I do not feel every student needs four years of math. I feel three is sufficient. I do not feel a student needs three years of science, (and I am a science teacher). We have only implemented these requirements to pass a test that determines college readiness, not if students have been taught. I would like the student tested each year, not only one time to show academic achievement. I would like a return to school to work programs. As an inner-city teacher, I feel this is how our students will be best served.

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LeAnn Horne
Novi, MI

The Alternate Assessments for severely disabled students do not test the things that should be worked on in their school program. These students have no need to work on social studies when they cannot even toilet themselves. (especially at the higher grade levels where the subject matter is more difficult). We now have to spend way too much time doing these things for NYSAA hand over hand with our students when we could be teaching them practical daily life skills that they may actually use. NYSAA should be modified to have the teachers make their own portfolios based on their IEP goals without all the state restrictions.

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Janith Bagley
cantalician center psa
Buffalo, NY

FULLY FUND MANDATES -- doesn't matter what they are -- just support the cost of it. Schools do not have enough money to support initiatives. I teach Art -- I don't have a textbook but I am supposed to teach reading and vocabulary. It is all on me to find things for the kids to read and develop appropriate vocabulary from it. Can't use too much paper, and I have to buy my own ink to print from my personal printer that I brought to school.

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Dyann Miller
Lee Schools (TALC)
North Ft Myers, FL

I would like to see more provisions made for teacher continuing education and professional development opportunities. Presently I have to either pay out of my own pocket for 6 college credit hrs. every five years to keep my license, or attend a ridiculous amount of workshops/ seminars for professional development credits, which means days out of school, etc.

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pete anders
kokomo, IN

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