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

Comments: 358

There must not be any connection between student performance on standardized exams and teacher evaluation, "career ladders," etc. This is patently unfair, and all teachers know it. It presents a myriad of problems. What of the teachers who do not have such exams? Think of the implications. Look as the abuses we have seen in Rhode Island with such linkage being used as a hammer in the middle of collective bargaining. In New York a policy exists in evaluations where newly hired teachers must show they are "making use" of test data. This may be a reasonable compromise. Membership is upset and is relying on AFT leadership on this crucial issue.

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Gary Fernando
Islip TA
Massapequa, NY

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

I'd like to see the enforcement of the fact that the ARTS & FOREIGN LANGUAGES are CORE subjects on equal footing as English, Math, Science, & History. The times have not changed even though this law has passed. It is crucial to have equal footing because of the abundance of special needs students placed into classes without the aid of a collaborating teacher. Over 30% in a class requires another teacher. I have 2 classes over 30% & have not been given a special needs collaborating teacher because Music does not count as a CORE subject. Isn't this breaking 2 laws, this one & the special needs public law for providing what the students need?

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Saundra Brown
Local #1 American Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO, Chicago Teachers Union
Chicago, IL

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

Don't blame the teachers, administrators, curriculum, etc., for the students' low math and reading scores. Place the blame where it belongs on the students, parents and society that reward, promotes, and champions athletes, entertainers and technological gadgets first, and educated, intellectuals last. As the screens get larger, so the students get fatter and their brains smaller. Texting and social networking rather than studying and doing homework will result in more dumbed-down, illiterate and failing student knowledge and achievement. Test them on their ability to use mouses, joysticks and remotes--not reading, writing!!

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Barbara Kaufmann
YFT
Vista, CA

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

Mandatory parenting classes and workshops for parents and care givers. Parents have to be made to be more responsible for their child's education. Some do not even give correct emergency numbers.

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Maureen Pricci
Maureen Pricci
New York, NY

My main concern with NCLB is that there is such a strong focus on testing (FCAT, SAT 10, etc.) that learners are not able to be fully encompassed in all areas of our curriculum. The testing highly emphasizes reading and math, except for a focus on writing and science in particular grade levels in the elementary level. Therefore, teachers must spend the majority of their time (and students must endure it) focusing on reading and mathematic skills with social studies, science, and the arts falling by the wayside. Some schools-such as mine-have also taken this to the extreme by not allowing the children to have recess since the testing is #1.

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Allison Zadach
TALC
Bonita Springs, FL

A standardized test should not determine a school's status. Most low-performing schools have many problems that must be properly addressed, children not learning to speak English until they enter school, uneducated low-income parents that cannot help with schoolwork or donate time or money to the school, parents/family members in jail and/or gangs providing negative role models. NCLB cannot address the needs of the nation's many diverse school districts. Furthermore, how do you expect schools to address their problems while they are experiencing severe funding cuts, larger class sizes etc.?

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Sue Addison
Santa Cruz City
Santa Cruz, CA

They should do away with it altogether. It is just impossible to meet "every" single child's need. Like in our school community, most the families are low income and second language learners. A lot of these children have multiple issues (drugs, abuse, neglect, poverty, emotional, just to name a few). Most of the time we do not have the parent support we need in order to work and succeed with these children's various learning abilities/disabilities. We would also need the resources and a variety of programs to make the implementation of this act if at all possible. Most schools don't have the budget for it.

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Carmen Orozco
UTLA/CTA
Hacienda Heights, CA

I am a firm believer in teachers and administrators working together. This means that a successful program will recognize teachers as knowledgeable individuals with extensive experience who must be consulted and participate in decisions that improve education. This means utilizing the successful management principles establish by Dr. W Edward Deming in which all individuals involved work to improve the teaching system. Blame is not focused on individuals but efforts are focused on improving the system. Charter schools and vouchers are bad because they allow the system to be bypassed instead of improved.

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Mervyn Kline
PFT
Philadelphia, PA

I would go into every inner city school and work to refurbish each school and make the school look welcoming to children. I would ensure that every teacher taught only 20 students in grades 1 through 8. I would stimulate the teachers to improve their teaching to stimulate the students to learn. I would set up a system of older students working with younger under, achieving children to help them improve their grades and what they learn. That means more money for school buildings and more money for teachers.

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Martha W D Bushnell
Boulder, CO

Lessen the requirements for the 2014 deadline. Not every district can reach the 100%. Ensure funding is actually given to the school districts as needed. Lessen the requirements of what constitutes a failing school.

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Anne Noel
Administrator's union
East Haven, CT

NCLB should be used to rate the curriculum used in the public schools.Children shouldn't be penalized for poor courses of study offered them. The teachers and administrators should use standardized test to rate what is taught,not just who is tested.Children in poverty will test poorly when the curriculum lacks substance. Parents should always be held accountable as well!

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Carole de Lay-Poree
UTNO
New Orleans, LA

Get rid of NCLB, RTTT, and any other acronym that the politicians are using to try and improve education. Politicians need to get out of the way and just fund education appropriately so that professional educators can do their job of teaching students.

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Kenneth Blankenship
Local 3600
Land O' Lakes, FL

Cancel the NCLB law. Stop teaching to the test(s).Bring back history, geography, social studies (including civics),science to the curriculum. The curriculum and practices in effect when my husband, I, and our four grown children attended NYC public schools enabled all of us to qualify for specialized academic high schools and top-notch colleges (including CUNY and SUNY.During my 27 years of teaching in NYC public schools, I saw a serious erosion of the fine quality education for which NYC public schools were once known.

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Louise Warren
UFT
Bronx, NY, 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

A change in how special education students take the test. I feel that they should not take the same test as general education students because, if they can pass the test, then they won't be in special education. I do feel that they should be tested like general education students but differently.

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Yvonne Lucas
Gary
Gary, IN

I think that in the new version of ESEA they should focus more on pedagogical skills than on multiple choice quizzes for teachers' certification.

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Cinzia Sevignani
Philadelphia, 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

I cordially invite the president and his staff to visit not one but 50 schools that they think are failing across the United States. I would love for them to come in on a regular day when no school would "spruce up the place" because you are coming. I would invite them to stay the day and take over. I'm sure they wouldn't last an hour. Let them sit in faculty meetings and face the utter frustrations teachers feel every hour, day, year after year. You will NEVER meet a more positive, hopeful group of people than those in schools that are literally on the firing line. By the way, I voted for our president and, yes, I still support him completely.

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rachelle furlan
ossining teacher's association
congers, NY

Teachers were not held responsible for Columbine. If that was proper, then why are you holding us accountable for a student's effort and achievement? Introduce a character education curriculum. Character education curricula raise test scores and improve school climate. More importantly, character education curricula have been shown to reduce crime in the neighborhood. Research reports by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia conclude that many children in Philadelphia suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Identify (it’s not hard) and treat students for emotional problems.

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Keith Newman
PFT #3
Philadelphia, PA

I feel that it is very important for each and every child to have the opportunity for a good education; however, NCLB is forcing educators to focus on assessment rather than teaching. Before NCLB, teaching was an art, and students enjoyed coming to school because teachers could be creative with their lessons. Today, and for some time, educators have had no choice but to teach to the test and assess, assess, assess. Although administrators feel that assessing will produce data that will help teachers in focusing on the students weaknesses, it is turning children off to learning. As educators, we know how to reach our students. Let the teachers teach!

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Gilda Dieringer
Northside ISD--San Antonio
San Antonio, TX

I would like to see an alternative method of testing for students who don't pass the ACT/MME here in Michigan. Not all students will be attending college. Many students will be attending trade or technical schools. Also, I would like to have all students reading levels checked to see what there reading comprehension level is prior to taking this test. What seems to be happening is that we are teaching students how to take and pass a test and businesses are telling schools that students lack basic skills and cannot show up to work on time and think critically.

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Chris Woodard
EFT1425
Southgate, MI

NCLB needed a complete overhaul from the moment it hit paper. The most glaring feature requiring examination is not the program at all. It is the funding. When the assessments show that aid is needed to attain the goals as outlined by NCLB, funding must be provided as outlined by the original blueprints. Follow through on the governing body’s part reinforces the importance of accountability on the most basic level. Further, NCLB should be examined by an outside educational group to determine if its goals are feasible.

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Michele Marcus-Krohn
Syosset Retired Teachers
Islip, NY

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