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

Comments: 358

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 Association
Islip, NY

NCLB has replaced education with schooling, producing test-takers of varying skill. In no way is this education. As a board-certified English teacher, I found the best way to educate a diverse student body is to go to standards-based instruction. Kids learn in their own ways. Minnesota had the "profile of learning" which had too many standards. It was put together by legislators and looked like Lake Wobegon---all children were above average. Let's be reasonable: Kids need to read, write, calculate and THINK. The last need has been discarded. Good schools are student-centered instead of political footballs.

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Cherie Boen
Wadena, MN

I am in favor of letting teachers teach and completely doing away with the maze of paperwork associated with NCLB. I can't think of a single good reason for a teacher to remain a teacher this day and age; and fully understand the mass exodus from the profession. I am a 20 year veteran and say, "enough is enough! give us back our classrooms!"

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Renee Hoffman
texas
weatheford, TX

AYP should be measured by student not by school. If a child is improving in their reading & math skills by a certain percentage each year, then that should be what's measured and celebrated. Some children need longer to achieve grade level proficiency and some will never reach it because of learning problems. They still can make some gains each year. These gains are not recognized in the way NCLB is set up now. Lower class size should be a priority in inner city schools. No classroom should be over 20 students. State tests assume all students can read on grade level and above. That is not the norm in city school districts.

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Deborah Hayes
New Britain, Ct
newington, CT

All the players are mentioned but one: the students. In every other arena, the customer is the prime consideration but not in education. Marketers on the school boards could motivate the students to want to perform, and that would be all that it takes to improve scores.

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John Minion
1984
Severna Park, MD

Get rid of standardized testing, and replace "accountability" with "transparency." Every state creates its own standards, subject to a non-binding review board which will make suggestions on a national level. Get rid of "Balanced Literacy.” Either stop social promotion or decide you cannot avoid it. Reinforce collaboration between teachers and principals/assistant principals. Get rid of all the LIS positions. Offer teachers a transfer instead of firing an entire school staff. “Bridge the gap" between state and city methods of evaluation. Refuse to allow major corporations to fund schools. And, by NO means align test scores with tenure!

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gary j. moore
UFT Retiree
Staten Island, NY

School libraries need specific funding for book, materials and personnel. Currently we get funded at the whim of the principal. We have to have book sales, and fund-raisers just to have enough money for books and supplies .A well managed media center works wonders in raising student academic achievement, and yet we seem to be the last on the totem pole for funding. My school is a Title 1 school. We have 99 percent of students with Hispanic roots. Learning to read well is their way out of the drop-out of school cycle. Appropriate up to date books and materials are a must in every school library if our students are to acquire the knowledge they need.

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Ana Colon
Miami, FL

The change I'd like to see is full repeal of the law.

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Jeffrey Eisenberg
East Meadow Teachers Association
Plainview, NY

Teachers alone cannot be held accountable for the performance of students. In the updated ESEA, there should be ways to evaluate and factor in the effects of administrators, parents, health, housing, employment and community issues such as violence and poverty in addition to evaluating teachers. This would provide a more accurate measure of where the problems lie and insure more meaningful interventions to help students thrive. Then when reforming underperforming schools, the entire community of students, parents, teachers, and administrators should be involved in the process. A grassroots, inhouse approach is democratic and empowering.

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Gabriell Debear Paye
Boston Teachers Union
Jamaica Plain, MA

Parents need to be evaluated. Period!!!

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Ted Meyers
270
Toledo, OH

No Child Left Behind is ruining public education. There is so much testing between the federally mandated tests and the other tests the districts and schools are piling on that education is lost. Children are losing recess, arts, science, social studies, etc, teaching is only targeting the students who are near proficiency, and teachers are being turned into data statisticians instead of educators. Reading is only taught as a process. Children are not being inspired to read! And all to try to meet an impossible goal--NOT ALL CHILDREN ARE ALIKE! We must get rid of NCLB to save public education! And Obama needs to stop promoting charters!

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Hazel Bellamy
Hazel Bellamy
Rio Rancho, NM

If there are mandates, there should be adequate funding. Members of AFT should be on the commission that develops the mandates.

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jacqueline foil
UFT
Kailua, HI

Scrap No Child Left Standing (I mean Behind) or get some realistic goals for AYP. Get realistic goals for educating our population. Realize that not every student is suited for college and start putting some money into vocational tech education. Stop scapegoating teachers for society's ills. Require politicians to actually have to teach before they legislate.

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Elaine Summerhill
United School Employees of Pasco
Zephyrhills, FL

I think it is necessary to eliminate the ridiculous emphasis on testing, especially for students with disabilities. All children learn differently and standardized tests are not accurate measures of growth and ability. Project based learning and portfolio assessments would provide a more accurate measure of ability. I also would like to see standards adopted that allow more in-depth study of topics.

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Pam DeLucia
Schuylerville STA
Ballston Spa, NY

NCLB is destroying public education, as it seems it was meant to. Obama's policies seem to buy right into it! It must go!! Not reformed, not reauthorized, it must go for the sake of the children. They are being tested, not educated, and teachers are entering and analyzing data instead of teaching. Please help us bring the insanity to an end!!

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Janet Bellamy
albuquerque teachers' federation
Albuquerque, NM

Special Education classes should not be counted in AYP. Children are in those classes because they were diagnosed with learning disabilities; they are most often functioning at below grade level, and being instructed according to their IEP to meet their needs at their functioning level. Testing them "at grade level" to determine AYP is absurd; no different than giving the Bar Exam to a college student.....they simply are not being taught on that level and, therefore, should not be tested on a level on which they are not yet capable of learning.

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Betsy Schwartz
Phila. Federation of Teachers
Warminster, PA

I would like to see students with disabilities have an alternative to grade level testing when it is already apparent that they are not on grade level. I am referring to students who would not qualify for the alternative assessments for students with severe disabilities. They should have a different, more appropriate measure of adequate yearly progress.

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Shari Franco
Newburgh Teachers Assoc
New Windsor, NY

As a teacher of the gifted I have witnessed total disregard for the gifted student in the "no child left behind" bandwagon. I would like to revise that slogan to "no child left behind but the gifted." This is a tragedy. These students absolutely have the brain power and the talent to make differences in our world. I have seen no funds, no support, no understanding of what "gifted" is since the inception of this program. Through ignorance and sheer audacity, administrations, school boards and state boards have forced gifted students into cookie-cutter-imitations of non-gifted students in order to exploit them for test scores.

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Lynda Boren
Vernon Parish
New Llano, LA

Textbooks are state adopted after going through rigorous adoption criteria. To eliminate the expense of state tests, such as FCAT, the book companies need to send out yearly tests that correlate with their textbook. Students will be tested on material covered, in a familar format. The yearly tests will be provided as part of the purchase price of the texts. The tests would be available for all subject areas - an improvement of current testing. Tests would be secure and proper testing protocal would be followed. Textbook companies would need testing departments for the writing, distribution and grading of the tests. A bonus...more jobs!!

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Susan Morgan
Lake Placid, FL

NCLB missed the mark on helping kids achieve....Too much emphasis on testing and the Special Education is REALLY inadequate.........

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Paula Bruno
Canton TX
Canton, TX

Nothing mandated in this bill will apply unless the federal government funds it.

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frank queen
denver federation of teachers
denver, CO

Get away from teach to test and knock off closing struggling schools.Those schools need our help as do the students.

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Charlie Williams
San Diego, CA

Check in with reality, not a presumption of student ability. Linking teacher effectiveness with test performance using only the supposed, expected entrance level of students does NOT measure realistic growth within an academic term. Nationally normed adaptive performance assessment such as Scantron's Edperformance.com series would need to be administered at the start and end of each course. It may need to be taken several times to eliminate the "bad day" syndrome. Many courses do not have nationally normed tests. So even this improved method can not be used as a salary determining factor.

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Paul Wittmer
UFT
Bronx, NY

I would like it to be standardized across the states, finding a way to make the students more responsible for their learning, less punitive, and allow for a measurement of growth.

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Robert James
CTU-279
Niles, OH

Decisions on changes should be made by people who have had actual lengthy experience working with children IN the classroom. Children who have been identified intellectually disabled should not be made to take mastery tests. ESL children should not be made to take mastery tests until they've attended school in the U.S. for at least 3 years.

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Lucia Kirwood
Orange, CT

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