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

Comments: 358

Eliminate vouchers and charter schools. Charter schools have shown themselves to be less effective than public schools and have the negative effect of increasing segregation. Eliminate high stakes tests at the elementary level which concentrate on basic skills and has impoverished the curriculum and the broad education our children deserve. Shelve the business model. There are certain things that are too important to be subordinated to the profit motive. Teachers need to collaborate, not compete, with each other.

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portia weisfeld
utd
miami, FL

NCLB is unrealistic with the goal of 100% of all students in an age group be on grade level. There has to be realistic exceptions. As long as the TEACHER is the only one responsible, then it is unacceptable and unfair. The STUDENT is the one that must mark the test bubble correctly to prove what that student knows. No matter how much the teacher does, it is the student that takes the test. A teacher can do all that is possible, but can't force a student to make a correct choice. Holding only the teacher 100% accountable as it presently does, is unfair and unrealistic. Inclusion is not best for all. Research shows small groups work best.

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Beth Rice
CTA of Palm Beach
West Palm Beach, FL

One of the changes I'd like to see in NCLB is how ELL and Special Needs students are evaluated. Right now in New York, ELL students who are in the school system for one year must take the same state exams as all other children. One year is not enough time to fully learn a new language and be able to take a reading comprehension test in it. As for Special Needs students, they have IEPs for a reason. As teachers we are expected to read them and adhere to the goals set for them which are often modified from the basic curriculum. They also are expected to take the same state tests as everyone else, which is unfair to them and to the school.

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Gail Cohen
UFT
Rockaway, NY

We must start thinking outside the box. When compared to many other countries, we are falling farther and farther behind. We could start by getting rid of "no child left behind" which tends to focus on elementary education and move to the importance of "Graduating on Time Causes Higher Accomplishment" (GOTCHA) or something with a message that focuses on graduating from high school. We also need to rethink how we look not only at teachers but also administrators. If we have people that are not making a positive contribution to a student's success, then we need to train them, move them to a different venue, or get rid of them.

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William Phillips
Houston, TX

I am not an educator by profession. I am health care professional. I am a mother of two, one child is 16 other is 12. I can tell you that my 16 year old child's elementary education was much more enriched than my 12 year old's. The older child's education was before NCLB and the 12 year old was during the bill's enactment. Standardized testing without proper funding is not an adequate measure of the teacher's effectiveness in the classroom. It is only a measure of how well a child can take a test! The classroom time is devoted only to how to pass the test. Therefore my daughter still struggling with the basics like multiplication.

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Carolyn Kube
UUP
islip, NY

That adequate funding is provided for schools having at risk students from the Federal and State levels. That there is accountability for ensuring that the school district distributes the allocations to the schools having high risk student populations. For instance for students that qualify for free and reduced lunch the funds from the state do not seem to come to our school. A fair evaluation tool for teachers that is implemented in all fifty states not tied with only students' state test scores may be useful if applied based on the state's or federal learning goals/standards and pupils' progress which is monitored on a quarterly basis.

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Carole Haymon
Local 1 CTU
Chicago, IL

Children can make progress, but all children cannot make the same quantum leaps in a year. It is unfair to expect them to be able to make the same exact gains as their peers.

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Shirley Acres
Nashua, NH
Nashua, NH

All students in special education classes for academic reasons need to be given alternative assessments so that they are not clumped into the norm of regular education students.Schools can be rated according to the percent of students who made significant progress, rather than just proficiency. And students should be rated on their progress, not the teachers. Teachers are doing all they can to improve the scores of the students at their school, but if the students don't take ownership of these scores, then there will be no incentive for them to improve. The other piece of this is the actual test. A 1950's format for a 2010 year!!

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Josephine Ortiz
Albuquerque
Albuquerque, NM

There are many new changes that I would like to see in the reauthorized ESEA. But I will make only 2 recommendations at this time. The first being the TAKS test that is required here in the state of Texas. I am all for assessing our students progress.The current NCLB has us over testing our students. Seems like every time I turn around we are getting ready to take a District Benchmark test sometimes on skills not even taught yet. We have become a system of test takers in our public schools!Next, I would like to see less finger pointing at teachers when students score low on TAKS and District Test.We are constantly being scurtinized.

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Sylvia Ochoa
Northside AFT
san antonio, TX

1) ALL class sizes in EVERY school capped at 20 students. 2) NATIONAL UNIFORM standardized curriculums and tests. 3) NO connection between test scores and tenure 4) Bonus pay for TENURED teachers that volunteer to teach in failing schools. 5) Schools evaluated on basis of NATIONAL UNIFORM standardized tests 6) Supervisors MUST HAVE subject specific experience for any department they supervise. i.e. Phys. Ed. or English certified may not supervise math dept. 7) Bonus pay for math and science teachers with 5+ years of experience. 8) All war funding diverted to education IMMEDIATELY.

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Alex Hasapis
UFT
Bayside, NY

Foremost add accountability for parents and students. We have the Standards; allow teachers to teach not just test constantly. Get the national government out of local decisions where we know what our students need. Stop voucher systems. Do not take monies from the schools’ budgets to pay for vouchers. Stop merit pay (based on student results - students who have no accountability for their testing)which demoralizes teachers (new and experienced) so much they quit and enter a different job base. Legislators must substitute in classrooms for one week prior to voting on educational bills so they may experience the effects of their interference.

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Ilah Breen
CCEA
Orange Park, FL

There is so much confusion. Nothing is clear. I, and several others on our school staff, would like to see a side-by-side comparison. We would like to know exactly what is stipulated now; what, if any, changes are proposed; and how schools will be effected. We keep hearing NCLB, NCLB, but in truth, very few, myself included, know what all this stuff is. Mandates are just handed down to us with little or no explanation.

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Ruth Kirk
East Baton Rouge Parish AFT
Baker, LA

No Child Left Behind is a statement with which noone can argue. However, Putting all the onus on teachers and principals is unrealistic and only adds to the lack of morale that is so evident in many schools today. The best plan that I have ever seen for school reform came from James Comer, whose chief principle is to establish non-blame collaboration among all the adults who are involved with the children - parents, teachers and administrators.

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Lydia Gruber
Windsor, CT

I would like a child's academic progress to be measured using a growth model, not a standardized test model. We have students in fifth grade who are reading on a third grade level who don't demonstrate age level skills on standardized tests not because they can't understand the concepts but because they cannot read at the fifth grade level. We are not allowed to give the the testing modifications that are a part of their individualized education plan on State assessments. We've been told that ALL students will score a 3 or 4 by 2014. I worry that teachers may cheat to demonstrate that growth. This isn't education at its best.

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Joanne Smith
EGTA
Delmar, NY

I would like to see not so much weight given to test scores. Not all children test well. More weight should be given to the work that the child does throughout the school year. I remember seeing the nervousness in children's eyes once you told them that testing was about to begin. It's a terrible to thing to do to a child to pass or fail them based on the results of one test. Doesn't the entire year's education count for something. I have seen C students become doctors, lawyer, teaches and President. Achievement should be the grade for passing not the score on one major test. Effort should count for something when a student does his/her best.

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Rochelda Hutton
1
Chicago, IL

I can understand why NCLB was established into the education of our children, but changes do need to be made. The requirement that ALL children must pass the tests is a little much. Why do they think the drop out rate in our country is so high!! We should teach the child to the best of their ability. Testing has taken over for the fun of learning. Teachers don't have time anymore for fun. They need to prepare their students for THE TESTS. I had one school administrator say our teachers don't spend a lot of time teaching for the tests. Are they kidding! When school scores are reported in the newspapers what system wants to look bad?

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Penny Talboys
NYSTA
Huntersville, NC

Progress for students is important. Understanding how to decode to read and basic math skills to build upon for higher learning is important. My perception comes from teaching special education students. I want the best for them and the most knowledge that they are able to attain. However, I see from where they are how difficult it is to attain these skills in the set time frame that is required to pass the ISAT. We work hard presenting and getting the students to acquire a foundation to build upon. I do see my students acquiring skills, which is what is most important. For all students to acquire these skills for themselves is what important

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Anne Nystrom
Riverside, IL

When are we going to get rid of everyone taking the same thing and the same test? Not every child is going to college. We need to have those that are interested in college take a college prep series of classes and those that are undecided to take the same classes so that they are prepared. That leaves those that only want to get through school and get a job they need to be informed about vocational schools and classes. When you try to fit everyone to the same mold you get resentment and eventually failure and that is where we are now the failure part, not everyone is the same or learn at the same pace.

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Jesse VanBuskirk
Brown City, MI

SO many things need to be revisited about NCLB but one issue stands out for me. When calculating graduation rates, NCLB only allows 4 years to complete high school. Many students for a variety of reasons outside of the school's control, need longer than 4 years to complete requirements. As written now, a student who takes 5 years is counted as "dropping out". Also, parents of children with profound special needs are choosing to keep their child in school until they are 21, for the express purpose of maintaining services for their child. These students also are counted as "dropping out". This is wrong and provides a deceptive picture.

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laura falvey
915
warwick, RI

Two things should be done. One is class sizes have gotten out of hand, especially in the high schools. Thirty-seven in a room is crazy. Also, arts should be in every classroom. There are too many mandates of required testing. Not all students are test takers. Requiring teachers to teach to tests is not teaching. Through the arts we are also able to educate well rounded thinkers. This is what is missing in testing and test-driven curriculum.

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Constance Gerson
UFT NYC
Kew Gardens , NY

It appears to me that when the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law came into effect, looking at one’s GPA scores doesn't really matter anymore. If an individual graduates with a higher GPA score than what is required, then he or she should get a position as an appointed teacher; of course, starting at a lower pay rate. If a master's degree is received, then his or her pay rate would increase, and if all required Praxis exams are completed, then he or she would receive another pay rate. In my opinion, if one is an excellent teacher, he or she will always put the kids first. I do.

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Linda Drummond
PFT
Philadelphia, PA

I would reevaluate the tests. We are making parrots out of our kids. We need to guide them toward creative thinking-- add music and art back into the program! Pay teachers what they are worth!

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phyllis hugins
frisco, CO

By putting students with moderate or severe needs in the class with students with out disabilities, we are leaving them behind. These students should receive instruction separately so to ensure their needs will be met. Also, standardized testing for these students should be modified in format in accordance with differentiated instruction standards. Deaf students, ESL learners, and other varied students should not be expected to do well on tests that do not cater to their needs. Teachers’ comments and course grades should be taken into consideration for placement as well.

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eureka dalton
tangipahoa
hammond, LA

At the high school level, we are now seeing the product of the testing mania. Kids have difficulty analyzing and thinking beyond simple answers. In social studies, we make better citizens. The overemphasis on math has hindered students' ability to understand government, interpret the news and grasp how to participate in a democracy.

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Sid Kivanoski
UFT
Brooklyn, NY

Period-by-period attendance is too time consuming and highly inaccurate. The law needs to fully fund all mandates!

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paul nostrand
wappingers congress of teachers
craryville, NY

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