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

Comments: 358

Repeal NCLB. Return control of education to the individual states where it belongs and where the Constitution puts it. NCLB is bad law, bad education theory, and a really awful title, implying cookie cutter sameness. Our student are unique. And, no, all children cannot and will not achieve at the same high level.

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Edward Holst
Florida Teachers' Association
Florida, NY

By making sure the schools that need the most help are given a priority in everything.

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Dan Esposito
Manhattan Beach, CA

Keep the military recruiters out of the High Schools!Its part of that law and shouldnt be!

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John Lichak
PEF
nassau, NY

I would like to see the federal government fulfill their obligation to pay for what they mandate. In addition, funding at both the federal and state levels need to be made equitable and consistent. It's almost impossible to deliver consistent educational services without a consistent and adequate level of funding.

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charles anderson
New Ulm Education Association #7186
New Ulm, MN

I believe that NCLB should have never been developed and implemented in the first place. I teach ESE high school mathematics, and I have to give my ESE 10th graders the regular version of the 10th grade state test here in Florida. It is terribly unfair for them to have to take this test when they have documented disabilities. Also, I will never be able to reach the bonus pay, other teachers are able to get because my students will never pass a test that is not fair to them. Furthermore, I believe that government officials have no business making education policies, when they are no where near a classroom.

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William Garrett
Polk Ed. Foundation
Frostproof, FL

NCLB needs realistic and enforceable objectives. You can not just move the problem from one school to the next, as NCLB does. It takes time and a humungous amount of effort from the entire community. Todays' child, just like todays' school, is much different from the child of the past and that school

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Jeannie Wattles
PFT Peoria, IL
Dunlap, IL

The first change I would like to see is an end to AYP. It is completely unrealistic; and in the long run, it is totally unattainable. AYP and the heavy reliance on standardized testing is ruining public education. As teachers, we are losing the opportunity to teach children to learn. We are losing the opportunity to allow children to think and question, which is how we learn. We have set education back to the 19th century, with a heavy reliance on regurgitating information. Depth has been sacrificed. There needs to be a new way to fund education. You cannot mandate that certain conditions be met and then not fund the means to carry them through.

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Mike Regan
Medway Federation of Teachers
Medway, MA

I am retired from STA, an affiliate of NEA. I would like to see all sanctions put on hold. But beyond that, I believe that NCLB was structured to guarantee that all public schools would fail and so could be taken over by private businesses, and I believe that Arnie Duncan was chosen precisely to further that goal. I believe that that process of privatization, or corporatization of public education will erode all the efforts in the past to make educational opportunities relevant and available to all. For these reasons also all sanctions should be stopped. Public schools should not be private businesses.

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Pat Witz
Stockton, CA

Track the student's attendance, along with their improvement. Usually, there is a correlation between them. It is hard to teach a student who is not in class.

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Tanja Miller
AFT
Amarillo, TX

Eliminate the testing of students who, through no fault of their own, cannot perform on standard tests. Until a student has proven they are in command of the language in which the test is given, they should be exempt. Test evaluation should be longitudinal. Students should be required to pass exit exams from year to year to proceed. Basic skills of reading and arithmetic should be demonstrated first before promotions. Social promotions need to end, and alternative programs put in place to serve students’ needs. Consequences for parents who neglect their children by failing to provide a proper home educational environment should include jail time.

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Paul Tackes
Lodge Grass, MT

Stop treating all children as if they are all cut with the same cookie cutter. We accept the fact that not all people can throw a 70-yard pass, and not all kids grow at the same rate or will reach the same height.Why can't we accept that not all children will learn at the same rate?

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Linda Wallace
Neshaminy
Yardley, PA

My biggest concern about NCLB is that children with special needs are NOT accommodated in this bill. I have taught special education for 10 years and enjoy what I do. Not all of our students function on the same grade level as their peers. For example, I teach 7th grade math and several of my students are working at a late 5th grade level. While they are showing progress, they do not meet the criteria of NCLB. This bill has purposely set our children up for failure. This reflects on us as teachers.

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Penny DeFord-Goff
Peoria Federation of Teachers
Metamora, IL

I would like to see students and parents held to some level of accountability. For example: Did students (or parents) make the effort to attend parent conferences or tutoring? Also, it’s time to stop blaming schools for everything. Federal, state, and local governments need to be held accountable for providing the proper resources (including funding). Local districts need to stop wasting funds on meaningless staff development and/or programs without proven records.

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Tom Roussin
Alliance-AFT Local 2260
Dallas, TX

I think students that are classified as ESL, certain 504s students, and special education students should not be held accountable to a state or national test. They should take a test but only to look for improvement. It is unreasonable to hold the school, the principal, teachers, etc. accountable for a child who just can not achieve at a normal level. Our school has a large population of the above, probably about 10 percent or so every year. If you were to take those students out of our test-takers, we would be performing at 80 -90 percent passing. However, these special student populations should still be tested based on some level for improvement, and the school judged on the basis of that improvement.

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Tracy Whitman
Lowell, IN

The President and lawmakers need a better understanding of failing high schools. I am highly upset at our President's education initiatives so far. Most seem aimed at privatizing education, weakening unions, and punishing teachers. None address key issues but seek to make teachers the scapegoats for larger societal issues. We need less testing, more community outreach programs for poor areas (funded), literacy programs for middle and high schoolers, character ed, and more technology, art and music education, mentoring, etc. These should be part of NCLB. We must start listening to educators and start working smarter.

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Wendy Lochmann
Cahokia Commonfields Federation of Teachers, Local #1272
Collinsville, IL

With the increasing medical concerns that our students face, and the increased incidence of life-threatening allergies, a school nurse should be mandatory in each school.

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Kimberly Bowers
Cohocton, NY

The No Child Left Behind process has not shown much progress. It has caused the students anxiety and lack of a well rounded education. I recall the days when teachers, were told not to teach to a test. The practice did not teach the children to learn to think independently . Today, teachers are told what to teach in a robotic ways. The children are being taught to the tests. Teachers and other staff are anxiety ridden-- hardly a comfortable learning environment. Education needs to be what it should be: well rounded learning for all children. That is when children will learn at their own pace and no child will learn behind.

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Diane Mintz
HFT
Houston, TX

The federal government needs to get out of state/local government issues. Perhaps looking at the federal Constitution would help with this issue. It is incredibly sad to think that a child's worth, educationally, is watered down to nothing more than a standardized test. Children are so much more than a test. Their day-to-day interaction, communication, questions, discussions, as well as the products that they produce (based on state standards) are a much more comprehensive look at the individual. Children are not finished products! They are 'works in progress' and should be looked at in this manner. Get rid of NCLB/ESEA as is.

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Nancy Cannon
943
Burbank, IL

I believe that AYP monitoring should follow the child through their years. We should not be comparing this year’s class to last year’s class. That is like comparing apples and oranges. Each student should be held to their scores and improve over last years score. I also believe that state mandated test should be administered later in the school year to give teachers time to teach all of the required lessons for students to achieve their optimum performance.

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Stacy Billhartz
Lebanon Federation of Teachers
Trenton, IL

The federal and state governments must put more money into ESEA/NCLB. Teachers and schools need extra money to purchase workbooks to tutor with, CDs, video, computers, etc to set up extra tutoring sessions and equipment. Then schools need to have enough money to pay the teaching staff to do the extra tutoring for the students. This will work and improve scores at our schools. Schools do not have the funds and teachers cannot continue nor can they afford to take these funds out of their salaries in this economy, as much as they would love to do it and have been doing it for years.

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Dorann Turner
NEA
Durham, NC

The best system to teach children of any age and level is to hire teachers who have adequate degrees. Teachers should be well versed in the content of the field of teach they are teaching: Mathematics, Science, English language Literature, Chemistry, Physics and so on. It is not possible to hold parents responsible for their children's achievement if teachers are not teaching their courses adequately for lack of credentials Teachers have to be hired only if they present adequate credentials and not be hired expecting them to get them while they teach. Children's behavior in the classroom is the teacher's and parent's responsibility.

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Liliana R.S. Goldberger
PFT
Scottsdale , AZ

First and foremost punitive damages should be frozen and or stopped. We are taking resources away from the schools that are not making the grade. That does not make sense-- if anything they should be given more resources. Also entire staffs should never be fired. That will only lead to mistrust between the community and the school system, especially in small tight knit communities. The staff you just fired probably has children and grandchildren in those schools. People will begin to look for other communities to move their children to. Those could also be some of the higher achieving students and you could have just made your situation worse.

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Jeremy Burger
Mankato, MN

Stop high-stakes reading tests and allow for the arts and other authentic learning to happen. Find other means of assessing/evaluating student progress and successful schools.

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judith rymer
UFT Retiree
great neck, NY

I want to see a system that does not leave its minority students behind. We have college-aged students coming in who cannot read or write because the system failed them.

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Megan Ujakovich-Gometz
PCCFCE
HILLSBORO, OR

Parents need to be held accountable for their children. Children need to be held accountable, too. Teachers work hard; they need to be appreciated. Smaller classes are needed.

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HELEN BENDER
UFT
DEERFIELD BEACH, FL

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