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

Comments: 358

Recognize that all children are not equal. Do not demand the same performance from low IQ and Special Ed students that you do from more capable students. Do not penalize a high school for low performing students if the students' performance was below grade level when they arrived. Do not penalize anyone if new immigrants are low performing because of language problems or poor education before their arrival here. In general, recognize that fairness requires exceptions.

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Marvin Feil
Newark
Fair Lawn, NJ

End the 2014 deadline for all students to be at grade level in math and reading. This is unrealistic and punishing to low income, immigrant districts. Fund the ESEA so that improvements in the schools can be paid for. Don't rely so heavily on testing to reach AYP goals; use other measures of progress: portfolios, projects and teacher evaluations of students.

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Caren Kalman
NBFT
Tenafly, NJ

No Privatization of Education

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John Turner
New Albany, IN

What changes? Scrap the whole thing and while at it eliminate the Department of Education and send Duncan packing. If he and O can not even speak to the teachers in Rhode Island before trashing them they both need to go.

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Robert LoCicero
Richmond, VA

Put the special education teachers back in classroom and eliminate overwhelming paperwork. Stop the needless endless testing. Bring back phonics. Make studets and parents accountable for learning and behavior. Make abuse of teachers by students punishable. Give regular ed. students rights to nondisrupted classrooms. Stop threatening teachers with firing...you are pushing out the good ones and are setting up a mess of problems. Demand that administrators treat staff with respect and not like the children we teach. Support the arts and extracurriculars besides sports. Realize people learn at different rates; don't set them up to fail.

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Mary Ann Kapacs
Scranton Federation of Teachers1147
Olyphant, PA

Get rid of the mathematically illiterate mandate of 100% proficiency. You can't get 100% of the people to tie their shoelaces correctly, much less be on "grade level" for reading and math! This provision is especially heartbreaking for ESL, special ed., and students in socially isolated, high-poverty schools. Philadelphia's AVERAGE rate of student poverty is 70%; in many schools, it approaches 100%, yet these schools are funded at 50% of the per-pupil expenditures of an adjoining district, Lower Merion, a wealthy suburb. These schools are labeled "failing" when it is the system that has failed. Give us the resources to succeed with our kids.

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Margaret Plotkin
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
Melrose Park, PA

The federal government should get out of the education business. Education policies are best determined by the States and school districts.

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LJ Kronschnabel
WPEC
Manitowoc, WI

Teaching to a test is wrong. Teaching to appreciate beauty -- in works of literature, in art, in discussion -- is right. Understanding intricacies of history and political thought is right. Learning math and science is good. And as one who tried to become a tutor for NCLB, it was a rip. I would have been paid (as a certified teacher with a master's degree from Harvard) $20 an hour while the agency was taking in $80 a child. Is that sane use of educational money? Focus more on getting smarter and better educated teachers and administrators -- and on smaller class size.

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Beth Aviv
Beth Aviv
New York, NY

Fund it properly or get rid of it.

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James Sherlock
UFT
Staten Island, NY

NCLB relies too heavily on standardized tests. Let's reexamine the likelihood that a nation of good test takers is not necessarily a well educated nation. The research shows that smaller class sizes would seriously impact learning in a positive way and help us reach the goal of a truly well educated society.

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Mary Munk
UFT
New Hyde Park, NY

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

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

There will be no significant improvement in general education as long as it's assumed that the curriculum adopted in 1893 and now in universal use is up to the task assigned to it. The AFT should call for a major national conference to rethink what's being taught, and why. And the conference should include, for a change, professional educators.

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Marion Brady
Cocoa, FL

scrap it and start over!!!!!

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Heidi Hess
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
Glenside, PA

Get rid of the testing which has been shown not to educate our youth. Don't adopt a rise to the top program for funding. That puts a barrier between wealthy and poor areas and punishes the lower economic classes which need the most support.

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Lynne Banta
Los Angeles, CA

NCLB must be revised to allow students to get a well-rounded education. By this I mean that reading and math should not be the only subjects they learn. Students are being denied the opportunity to have social studies, science, art, music and other curricula. Students no longer get a world class education. They get an education that determines whether a school makes AYP or not and, if not, let's close the school and start over with new teachers. Same kids, new teachers. NCLB has been a total disaster from the start. It needs to be totally revised so that students can get the education they need.

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Barbara Gordon
Philadelphia #3
Cherry Hill, NJ

Scrap the whole thing and go back to the way it was prior. Right now too much testing, too much data analysis, continual analysis and judgment of students and teachers, no time for recess... I don't like teaching anymore, and I sure wouldn't want to be a student in public school now.

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Lourna Yzaguirre
Houston Federation of Teachers
Pasadena, TX

Do NOT have merit pay. Do NOT grant tenure or evaluate teachers based on test scores. A principal can easily give a teacher whom they do not like the students with the lowest ability - English language learners, the special education students, the emotionally disturbed students and low functioning students whose parents refuse to sign for special education. Principals csn also give favored teachers the brightest students. To base tenure, performance and merit on test scores is impossible and unfair.

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Richard skibins
UFT
East Meadow, NY

Add something that puts parents and families of the children attending school more accountable. Since parents get tax breaks for having children or assisted living or lunch programs for kids, then parents should be held more accountable for getting their children to school on time, not be tardy or absent so frequently, and be committed to spend time after school helping their children with their education and keeping them safe. Perhaps to qualify for certain tax credits or fee exemptions, parents and families who are struggling both financially and/or emotionally should be required to attend counseling sessions. Schools can't do it all!

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John Anagnostopoulos
604
LaGrange, IL

Charters are a sham. If profit is involved, education is out the window, to be replaced by showy "persuasive" gimmicks. Learning to respond successfully to standard tests is also a sham, precluding real thought and discursive reasoning, absolute essentials in a democratic system of government. Check out the new Diane Ravitch. Holding teachers accountable for failure is to ignore a particular school's culture. I taught in an academic high school with great success. I would have been highly regarded and well rewarded. Then I moved to a ghetto community college, with resultant few successes--and would have been punished, perhaps fired.

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Lee Frank
Sherman Oaks, CA

I would eliminate the mass exams that stifle teacher creativity, but would establish rigorous standards for both students and teachers, along with guardian commitments to work with their children. No more teaching to the test! I would provide school time availability for individual tutoring of students having difficulties, and as a union member I would resist the union discouragement or flat out forbidding of individual teachers who volunteer their time before, during, or after school hours because doing so 'makes the other teachers look bad.' Too bad for those teachers! Quality education involves more than just doing the contractual job.

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Marlene Cartaina
White Plains, NY
Ossining, NY

The NCLB, while a noble approach to holding kids and schools accountable and therefore improving education, compares apples with oranges and sets standards which for some students are unrealistic. Can we somehow ensure that all parents will require students to attend school and do school work? Will they all provide support and encouragement at home? If so, the playing field will be somewhat leveled, as it is not now. In addition, stop social promotions. If year after year a student is passed along to the next grade whether or not he is ready or has mastered content skills and concepts, don't blame teachers when they don't pass SOL tests!!

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Sharon Cooper
Prince William County
Dumfries, VA

We need to address the diverse population with whom we work. The desire to see all children progress, grow in their skills and abilities is definitely something we all want. I believe NCLB fails to take into consideration the individual strengths and weaknesses of each child, particularly those who have special needs. To lump all of the students into one category and say what is needed for success is wrong. We need accountability and we need to help our students grow, but we do not need to ignore disability areas and/or strengths that do not lie in the academic areas. A grade level goal does not a successful student make in all cases.

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Miriam Dotson
Kenyon-Wanamingo
Kenyon, MN

I want to see progress measured by individual student growth from year to year. Also, drop 100 proficient by 2014 to a realistic level.

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Angela Bailey-Aldrich
Education Minnesota Osseo
Brooklyn Park, MN

The law needs to be written in a way that takes into account the fact that there is a range of abilities, as reflected by the bell curve. Not all people are or are capable of being average. Many are brighter, and many have limitations. It is unrealistic for the law to demand that all become average or suffer unrealistic penalties. I would reduce annual testing requirements that cut into teaching time. Eliminate penalties that fire teachers and close schools. These penalties are beginning to strike, and they are striking in areas with smaller populations, or unique cultural aspects that will be harmed by the current process.

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Belle Aakhus
Bemidji Education Association
Bemidji, MN

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