AFT - American Federation of Teachers

Shortcut Navigation:
 
Email ShareThis

Voices Question

View all Teachers questions

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

Comments: 358

I never understood the logic in firing math and science teachers when there exists such a huge shortage nationwide. Wouldn't schools simply be swapping out the teachers already in the system? I think we need to pay teachers enough so that districts have a pool of math and science teachers to select from; otherwise, both good and bad teachers will get a job somewhere. It should be required by law that districts increase salaries enough to create a surplus to choose from.

Vote

Jonathan Garrison
Arlington, TX

AYP should be based on where the school starts out. In my old school, many kids started freshman yr. reading at the 4th grade level. I think that schools should be rated as ok if the kids get up to 6th grade or so after a year at the school. If AYP continues to be pushed up, eventually hardly any school will make the cut.

Vote

barbara farmer
proviso teachers union
river grove, IL

Not every student is able to pass all courses. i.e. special needs students in 8th grade functioning on a 3rd or 4th grade level being expected to pass Algebra when their main need is to be taught life skills so that they might be able to function somewhat in society on their own. Students are being promoted even though they have not successfully learned the material presented and are now supposed to be able to continue with the next level of study, frustrating both student and teacher.

Vote

donna brunza
deer park schools
deer park, NY

Please end NCLB. It is an extremely unfair law holding students accountable for things they are not capable of doing. Let the legislatures take the test and see how they do. When will families be accountable for their children and their behaviors? Teaching sucks because of the unrealistic things expected from teachers. Next year is my last and the only way I will ever come into a school is to see my grandchildren when I have them. Private education plays by different rules and they aren't the answer either.

Vote

Douglas Sawatzky
Willmar Education Association
Willmar, MN

1.) Give ESL students three years before taking the test on THEIR comprehension/English level...not current grade level. 2.) Give Special Ed. students the test on their comprehension level, not grade level, but make sure there is progress each year. 3.) Don't punish schools by labeling them publicly...it destroys the pride both in students and community. 4.) States MUST HELP schools that are "failing" by sending in professional teams of math/writing/reading coaches to encourage the teachers and guide them (guide, NOT force) 5.) Do NOT mandate any more testing! 6.) Eliminate annual budget elections...schools need steady funding.

Vote

Mike Ryan
Cliffside Park, NJ

The NCLB and ESEA have not taken into consideration ALL of the special needs children -- from the mildest of disabilities to the most severe -- and how they are assessed. Since they have already been identified, or are in the process of being identified as having difficulties learning, there is no reason to AGAIN test them (we KNOW they are NOT at grade level). Secondly, the assessments used to identify these struggling students are more specific than those mandated tests. Lastly, many regular ed. teachers are not (sufficiently) trained to teach to special needs students and are often frustrated by this. These issues need to be addressed.

Vote

Gretchen Schafer
MISD
Troy, MI

The possibility of every child reaching proficiency by 2014 is incredibly unrealistic. All children do not have equal intellectual abilities. It is not possible for children with very low IQ's or disabilities to reach the same degree of achievement. Children from poverty-stricken areas and from non-English speaking backgrounds are at a disadvantage and these differences need to be taken into account. Schools need more financial support for extra academic help for these children. The bill also needs to require more accountability from students and parents.

Vote

Kathleen Tomilson
Coventry Teachers Alliance
Coventry, RI

NCLB must recognize that, even though the number of students ages 16-21 with severe multiple disabilities is extremely small, we do have them in our 12:1:4 self contained classrooms. At 16, NO!, most will not improve each year in math, reading etc, especially those with severe seizure disorders that regress with each major seizure. However, we can teach them to be as independent as possible in preparation for the Day Hab centers that they will attend after hitting 21. We need to concentrate on improving their communication and daily living skills to really enrich their future. Make alternate assessment meaningful for their actual cognitive levels.

Vote

Margaret DePaula
UFT
Ridgewood, NY

If education reform is ever going to truly be effective, we MUST give the teachers the freedom and professional authority to make the decisions necessary to educate the whole child. Standardized testing is useful if you have a class of standardized students, but that will NEVER be the norm. We are the professionals, not some politician sitting behind a desk. NCLB should be scrapped and a new, more thought-out system, developed by the people who are actually involved in the process, implemented.

Vote

matthew gallagher
marlboro teachers association
marlboro, NY

I would like to see inclusion on a case-by-case basis, not according to a rigid law. I have worked for 38 years in the public schools as a speech/language pathologist and have worked with special ed kids who are not making it in the regular educaton room.

Vote

ellen lunz
CTU Chicago Teachers union
wilmette, IL

It is time that the real educators are asked for their input. Sadly, many of today's directors of education have little or (usually) no long experience in the classroom. Teachers nominated by their students for Who's Who Among America's Teachers might be a resource. Yes, this is a commercial organization but at least 80% of those nominated have to have made a difference in the life of the child he/she helped educate. Why else would a child want to nominate this teacher? Also, ask the children how they learned from their best teachers.

Vote

Barbara Menna
UFT
Staten Island, NY

I would like our students, schools, and teachers to be evaluated on personal growth, not abstract numbers. Children come in very low, up to 3 grade levels behind in the most extreme cases. We work with them where they are at, not where we wish they could be. If I get a kid who comes to me pre-reading in the third grade (and this has happened) are we really surprised he is not on grade level in June? We need ways to chart the growth of a child's progress (running records?) based on where they started, and how far they progressed.

Vote

Aerielle Spusta
daly city, CA

There is no way that all children will be able to accomplish an equal goal of state testing mandates. We need to have NCLB address children reaching their potential, which will vary as it always did. There is no reason to make all children regent in New York, no reason to put all students, particularly the more learning disabled students, in a position of having to take standardized tests which end up guiding our curriculum instead of having developmental needs and abilities guide the appropriate curriculum being taught. There is a huge inconsistency between what is being taught and developmental appropriateness.

Vote

Gail Berger
Carmel
Cornwall, NY

We need to be able to judge AYP for each individual - using groups is not statistically useful or accurate. In New Jersey, we foolishly compare two different groups for AYP, a statistical nightmare - surely our computers could be capable of checking individual comparison - we also need to recognize that Special Ed. students grow at different rates and at different times and each disability presents different needs - the same is true for ESL - much needs to change and we need to use good judgment, developed by experts in the field - and all states need to be held to the same standards.

Vote

Henry Pomerantz
UAFNJ 2222 - Sussex
Newton, NJ

NCLB is unfair to all children. The mandates it has required all schools to abide by have not been funded; subgroups have created different treatment of children; schools are placed on lists as being in need of improvement in many cases by not making targets when they are actually only a very few students away from the targets. In those cases the school is treated the same as a school that is very far from the targets. Finally testing has become about assessing schools and not about assessing student learning.

Vote

Esta Newman
UFT/NYSUT Local 2
Douglaston, NY

End AYP: yearly testing with different students each year! Can we finally test the students in the beginning of the year and then at the end of the year and show the growth?! And here's another suggestion--how about a universal curriculum? Every state teaching the same stuff. Wow, wouldn't that be better to compare than every state teaching what they believe is the best?

Vote

Cynthia M. DeNardis
1052
Sterling Heights, MI

As teachers strive to meet individual needs, and account for the differences in learning styles of each of their students, it is ludicrous to evaluate learning with a "One Test Fits All" approach. Sadly, since "No Child Left Behind" was enacted, teachers are pressured to teach to the test and not to the child. What happened to the "teachable moment"? Where is teacher judgment in the evaluation of a child's learning? Where is the place for the creative child who scores poorly on tests but is a superior learner? True learning will return to the classroom when teachers are allowed to teach children -- not just test material.

Vote

Linda Tremml
UFT
Long Island City, NY

As teachers strive to meet individual needs, and account for the differences in learning styles of each of their students, it is ludicrous to evaluate learning with a "One Test Fits All" approach. Sadly, since "No Child Left Behind" was enacted, teachers are pressured to teach to the test and not to the child. What happened to the "teachable moment"? Where is teacher judgment in the evaluation of a child's learning? Where is the place for the creative child who scores poorly on tests but is a superior learner? True learning will return to the classroom when teachers are allowed to teach children -- not just test material.

Vote

Linda Tremml
UFT
Long Island City, NY

NCLB needs to become “NCLB-except-Special Ed.” Our Special Ed populations learn in different ways then GenEd students, yet they are required to take GenEd grade level tests. What sense does it make to have a student with a learning disorder, who reads at the 5th grade level, take a test that is written at the 11th grade level? We have high school students who are can't increase their reading levels, no matter how hard they try, or what materials we use. We tell our Special Ed population that they learn differently, and we present material in a variety of ways, only to force them to take a GenEd test for graduation, and AYP. Discrimination abounds!

Vote

Kathy Ellis
Albuquerque Teacher Federation
Albuquerque, NM

I would like to see testing requirements for special education students changed. Testing a student with a full scale IQ of 75-80 with a grade level test when they are performing 2-3 grade levels below grade level is cruel. I would like to see more appropriate testing that can actually determine how a student is performing instead of simply reinforcing that the test is one more thing that they are unable to do.

Vote

Jennifer McElroy
Minisink Valley Teachers' Association
Middletown, NY

Do away with it! It is not funded. It creates work for teachers that is not part of their normal job. It shifts the burden of education away from the student and the parent to the public school system. Ask the question: Why are private schools empty now? Answer: Parents need the funds to live. Parents give lip service to their child's education. It is all based on the almighty dollar.

Vote

Herbert Belcher
Hillsborough County Teacher's Association
Seffner, FL

We need to get serious about academic achievement and less involved in the many excuses/explanations of why so many students are not achieving or graduating. The latter is an important offshoot but not our primary concern. Education in the USA must not be held hostage to the needs of the lowest common denominator. Educational reform needs to be addressed at the elementary and secondary level. Post-secondary education is a privilege earned through success in secondary school (or equivalent). We need to separate out our educational goals from our so-called egalitarian societal goals. Both important but academic excellence is our mandate.

Vote

charlotte kleis
TAUP
philadelphia, PA

We can not expect all students to be at the exact same level.We are all different and learn at different paces, styles. We have different IQ's, talent, motivation levels and abilities. We must also understand that learning takes the students desire and parent commitment. It is not all the teachers. Most teachers I know want their students to learn and provide them with great activities when they can in between standardized tests. Trust the teachers more, give the teacher time to do fun activities that excite the children to learn subject matter. Start using the votech schools and stop preparing all students for college. We need our skilled laborers.

Vote

brenda Sorenson
PSEA
clifton heights, PA

Music (and art) should not only be listed as a core academic subjects, but meaningful assessment tools should be developed and implemented to ensure that school programs follow a sequential curriculum, monitor progress and provide accountability to school boards, parents, and the community.

Vote

Jeffrey Solow
TAUP
Elkins Park, PA

We need funding for educating ELLs. More paraprofessionals to work with them, more training for all educators involved in ELLs' education ...guidance counselors, mainstream / content area teachers, reading specialists as well as administrators. Recognition of each student's individual progress from year to year. AYP for students that reflects his / her growth.

Vote

Tracy Cosgriff
Dunbarton, NH

Display items per page.

Submit your comment