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

Comments: 358

I am not a teacher, but work in education in human resources. I am also a grandmother of elementary-aged children and a concerned citizen of this country who sees our competitive edge in the world slipping away. I would suggest a few simple things: school uniforms, single-sex classes. And let each child somehow know that someone cares intensely about them, their ability to learn and succeed, and they can and must be responsible. I personally believe adopting these relatively simple suggestions would make a world of difference. As a society, we must let our children know that they are a priority.

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Sondra Schultz
Cleveland Heights, OH

I am a Life Strides teacher, the current test is not a valid measure of the population I teach. It takes entirely too much time for the teacher to document the activities. It also requires students to take each question two times, which I believe invalidates the test. Regular ed. students only test one time. Also, the instrument is not able to be used as a quick/easy measure at the beginning of the year so that deficits in skills can be identified. I could go on and on. It is a very poor attempt on the federal government to level the playing field.

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Sandra Pettit
San Antonio, TX

You must eliminate the AYP. A growth model should be used that rewards improvement. All schools in my District have improved every year but are still considered failures. You must also eliminate the subgroup growth requirement. We should track subgroups and look at ways of improving their scores, but don't punish a school or district because two subgroups out of many don't reach the unrealistic goals of the current law. The last words I have to say are "show me the money."

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Richard Hathaway
ABCFT
Cerritos, CA

Micromanaging our education system cannot redeem us from the problems of the global economy. Charter schools create opportunities for school districts to move more schools and students around, build more buildings and buy more busses every time an expert gets a new idea. Our most disenfranchised youth continue to be moved around, their neighborhoods further marginalized by the loss of their schools. It is fantasy that our education czars will now stop playing politics with our children, start hiring the best applicants, and do what’s best for our country. The experts should stop preaching and go into the ghetto and teach.

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marty Seigel
Heartland Adjunct Faculty Association
Bloomington, IL

Define how much the child should grow according to the test criteria. Account for his language acquisition, special education needs, social needs, medical needs, and his age and developmental level. (all measurable). Hold me and the child accountable for that growth. Reality works. Circumstances alter cases. You can deny it but you cannot change it. Stop holding teachers accountable for everything that does not work. Sometimes it is the expectation that needs to be redefined… expectations that are not appropriate for the situation. If I send you a box of tissues, you will not be able to sew a silk shirt.

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BARBARA BLANTON
EL PASO, TX

NCLB should be rewritten to include more financial support for schools/teachers to implement its requirements. It should also have a mechanism that all states must comply because, in New Jersey, our new governor made his first budget cuts targeting education. I think this program is a failure for education: students and teachers. Teachers are being pressured to make their students score higher, NOT LEARN.

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Jana Nelson
HPAE107
Williamstown, NJ

NCLB has been gravely misunderstood. School districts are too focused on test results and losing sight of the students' needs. The math assessment test format needs to be changed from all multiple choice. Showing their work & explaining their thinking is critical and should be valued along with creativity of solving problems. The evaluation should incorporate and encourage the use of manipulatives and visual aids. The results need to be reported in a way that ensures a struggling student will be identified and receive extra help and given an opportunity to catch up to his peers. Teachers need to be offered ongoing inservice and support.

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Angela Manning
Ashburn, VA

I have been a childcare provider for 30 years, and I see no child being left behind. Put more money into early education; childcare providers do a great job and so do centers. Offer more grant money to the resource and referral agencies. What has happened is teachers don't have time to teach because policymakers seem to think they need more paperwork. They get bogged down with more to do and no time to teach. You still need classes to help the children who need that extra help-- not all children learn the same way, some need more help than others. So start helping not hindering. Let the teachers continue to do what they do best: teach.

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cindy vess
topeka, KS

Please stop stigmatizing students and schools with the sole reliance on imperfect and highly biased standardized tests! This has a detrimental effect on ESL learners, disabled students and poor students of color - widening the very gaps it pretended to "solve". There need to be economic supports for students and teachers - not funding cuts based on tests. Stop the AYP insanity! Offering funding and solutions based in local contexts are much more powerful solutions - i.e. asking students, teachers and parents as well as schools what works to support them instead of mandating it.

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Emily Daniels
Livonia, NY

I feel there is no way that ALL children can reach the same level. They are not machines-- they come from different environments with different levels of intelligence and motivation. I feel it is unfair to have a child who has not been in our district for years to be evaluated with all the other students. Some students come from other states and have not done the same activities at the same time as our school. If a student has poor attendance, that, too, needs to be taken into account. Finally, if a child has other needs, other than severe academic delays, it doesn't mean they will learn at the same speed!

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Mary Jane Thompson
ISD 578
Pine City, MN

I would change No Child Left Behind by getting the idiot politicians out of what all of us try to do for the children of America--teach. I am sick of only using test scores to see if our students learn something. Teaching is a very complex process. Tests are only one way we know if our students know something. Teachers use so many different methods to evaluate our students. I do believe we need to test our students at benchmark grades such as 3 6, 8 and 10th Grade. I think this will get us a better picture of what our kids know.

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Jose Colon
BFT 1078
Berkeley, CA

Public schools need to be able to kick out students the exact same way as private schools. When students are bad and disruptive to the class, they go home and stay there. Japan does this and all the other countries we are constantly compared to, but here they are only out for three days and then right back again. The kids see this and know there are no consequences for bad behavior.

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kyle hardy
AFT APS
Albuauerque, NM

Students need more fun, art and music DAILY. Make the day longer and implement these activities: band, chorus and drama. Give the teachers more time to teach like they used to. Smaller classes. More adults in the classroom. Higher standards of education are great, yet we cannot stuff down the students’ throats what they need to learn. They get defiant and stubborn. Are they learning under such pressure? As an adult, I don't!

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allyn harad
Albuquerque Teachers Federation
albuquerque, NM

Let teachers teach and keep the politicians out of the teachers’ faces and classrooms. They make UN-educated decisions based on $$ not what will help the child. The arts have always helped the academic side of all children’s education; this is a proven fact that gets covered up. Teachers are not overpaid, but they must be held accountable for the jobs and the education of the students. Board members should not get paid and upper level administrators should get paid only if they are informed through teaching observation first hand. Teachers who are complacent and refuse to educate to the best of their ability should resign and give it up!

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Howard Merrick
AFT
Hemet, CA

You’re killing the excitement and love of learning that all children have with the heavy emphasis on testing and drilling. Excellent schools have the arts as an important part of school. Excellent schools create many opportunities for asking questions and the time to figure things out for yourself or in a small group. Experiencing excellence is very important for children so, through field trips and other avenues, they see excellence in all fields. The “wow” factor needs to be there so they can appreciate and aspire. Teachers and students need a more positive, creative, supportive environment. There is too much bean-counter focus and judgment on numbers. Intimate, small groups enable excellence.

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Lynn VanDeusen
Buckeye
Medina, OH

I know I will be in the minority with my opinion, but I feel that teachers should be paid according to the subject they teach. There is no way that a person who teaches physical education all day should be paid the same amount of money as a person in math, English, or language arts. They don't have the paper load, the preparation, nor do they have the accountability on testing each year. I also believe in merit pay. If a teacher has the ability to motivate students to learn as well as the willingness to do extra work to help students achieve, why shouldn't he/she get extra pay?

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Nova Reed
Ouachita
Downsville,, LA

One of the main requirements, as I understand it, of the previous "No Child Left Behind" required teachers to teach only toward outcomes on standardized tests. This is one thing that I feel needs to be changed. Teachers need to be allowed more freedom in the classroom to access their student's individual needs and then select lessons WITHIN a prescribed curriculum, that will help those students to meet those needs. Secondly, that policy tended to hold back the progress of advance students; while also punishing schools for not bringing students with profound special needs up to a standard. This needs adjustment. Unleash and reward!

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Vance Nelson
NDPEA
Pembina, ND

I am a retired teacher from New York City, and NCLB has left the students behind. Joel Klein is so obsessed with data; he is blind to the fact that it prevents teachers from teaching. Teachers are now faced with student test data to determine if they will be tenured. It seems that individuals who have no credentials to teach are establishing doctrine that makes it impossible for teachers to do their jobs. NCLB monies should be placed back in the classroom for smaller class size and more staff development—training that is relevant to today’s problems in instruction.

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Adele Leibowitz
UFT
Brooklyn, NY

Changes that need to happen: 1) The testing for high school is not in alignment with the assessments used in elementary school. The ACT is a college-prep test and is not appropriate for all high school students. 2) The only people being held accountable for the students learning are the schools. The students themselves should also be held accountable for their own learning.

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Gabrielle Drafall
1211
Schaumburg, IL

I would like for Congress to seriously look at the requirements for special education students. Although the alternate assessment is available, there are still students who would not meet requirements for this option but are still significantly below grade level in reading. These students are in instructional reading programs but are not up to grade level in reading to be able to accurately show their growth as readers. Some students would benefit from off-grade-level reading testing to accurately show their growth as seen in their individualized education plan. Another option would be to incorporate their IEP growth with state testing.

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Maureen Bober
Lockport, IL

I would like to see the whole thing eliminated. If not, then at least funded. It conflicts with most states and causes a great deal of problems. And, then there is no follow up from federal government; just rules and regulations.

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Jane Wall
Jane Wall
Corpus Christi, TX

Extreme overemphasis on standardized testing has had the opposite of its intended effect. Teachers, students, and administrators are completely overburdened by all of the bureaucratic red tape and regulations imposed by federal and state mandates to meet AYP and to hold schools "accountable" for students' performances on state exams. NCLB seems to be driving teachers out of the profession while weakening our public school system with its focus on students' exam scores as sole measures of their progress each year. Great educators know to use a variety of holistic assessments, with standardized tests acting as diagnostic tools to gauge kids' needs.

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amanda braziel
education austin
austin, TX

ESEA should focus on giving teachers the discretion and ability (training and tools) to use formative assessments to measure student progress and adjust instruction instead of focusing on standardized summative measures of achievement. It should stress that any use of a standardized test scores must be supported by evidence of the validity of the test for that use. (Tests are not valid in and of themselves, but only in terms of the validity of the inferences that can be drawn from the results for particular purposes.) It should focus on incentives not punishments. It should give teachers more say in choosing and implementing curricula.

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Marc Korashan
UFT
Brooklyn, NY

I would like to see ESEA abolished! My experiences with Title I have shown me that the funds go toward pulling good teachers out of the classroom away from the students who need them. These government "paper-pushers" spend all day working on meaningless chores. This program has been an awful waste of taxpayers money!

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BENNIE WOODARD
FEA/PEA
WINTER HAVEN, FL

Drop the whole thing and start over. Have a board of teachers from every state rewrite it (or retired teachers). There are too many tests and too much stress for students, parents and teachers. Now Regents Boards are making tests easier so more students pass. (I think they are trying to show that it is working!) This is far from the truth. Take special ed students out of the equation and give them their own set of goals. They need job skills and living skills not a Regents Diploma!

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Deborah Virga
WFUT-Retiree Chapter
Farmingville, NY

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