Many officials in the previous administration were very vocal about their opposition to the public school concept and their desire to provide public tax dollars to fund private (correctly translated as “Christian”) schools; and No Child Left Behind has come dangerously close to causing public schools to fail. Fortunately, it is beginning to appear that NCLB is likely to be replaced relatively soon–possibly with Common Core State Standards–but before doing anything we need to be certain that we do not duplicate any of the bad intentions of NCLB. My very first article for EzineArticles dealt with 10 reasons the goals of NCLB were statistically impossible. In this article we will look at requirements placed on schools that are simply impossible to meet. There can be only one explanation for having both impossible goals and impossible requirements–planned failure.
5 Indicators of NCLB’s Goal of Planned Failure for the Public School System:
1. Increasing AYP (Average Yearly Progress) every year
In the world of reality, every school, every teacher, every person would be ecstatic over an AYP of one. This would mean that every student made one year’s progress for one year in school. This would be wonderful! Unfortunately, because of issues of poverty, language barriers, special needs students, etc., an AYP of 1 is very nearly impossible. It is a good goal, but not a realistic one. In the insane world of NCLB, if schools actually manage to meet AYP one year, the number goes higher the next year. This increase in AYP continues every year until…you guessed it, until the school fails.
2. Negative scores
In the world of reality, when a student misses a test, the recorded score is a zero; but not in the insane world of NCLB, where every missed test counts as a negative number against the school. This is true for students who move, who are suspended, who are in the hospital, in jail, and–I bet you didn’t know this–parent refusals! There are many parents who for whatever reason decide they don’t want their children tested in NCLB. And we were all told “Sure, parents can refuse.” What none of us were told at the time was that the students “score” would still count against the school as a negative number. Every year since I retired I have helped with CSAP, the Colorado NCLB test, make-up exams. This year the stack of parent refusals was enormous and every single one will count against the school as a NEGATIVE NUMBER! Why would anyone do this? Planned failure!
3. 5 out of 6 = 0
The CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program) test consists of three subjects: Math with 3 individual tests, Science with three individual tests, and Reading/Writing with 6 individual tests. Needless to say, this is spread out over several days usually in two different weeks. It is not unlikely that a few students get sick, especially if something is going around as happened last year. Students sometimes get sick during the test. Every year we find ourselves struggling to find a handful of students who missed one subtest that if we can’t get it made-up will count as a zero for the entire subject. The five English tests count for nothing if the 6th one doesn’t get made up.
In the same vein, if a question has multiple parts–no partial credit. It is either all right or all wrong. Why would anyone create these rules? Planned failure!
The test making process is incredibly expensive. From designing the test, printing the test, distributing, re-collecting, grading, writing reports, distributing these reports, and then acting on the results which may include firing teachers and finding replacements, turning schools into charter schools, etc. And since it is a requirement that at least 95% of the student body–including 95% of every possible subgroup, like American Indian, or special ed.–schools go to great expense to hire people like me who can do the make-ups. These people must be licensed teachers and the schools have no teachers who can be free for the necessary length of time. You might be wondering who is paying for this. Well, it ISN’T the federal government. NCLB is a federal mandate, but it was never funded. So your state pays for it all. Just imagine how much could be accomplished if we turned that money directly to teacher preparation or educational programs for schools! It seems that it is more important to make public schools look like failures.
5. Spring Break
What idiot said let’s require schools to test 95% of their student body during the two week period before Spring Break? You have no idea how many parents pull their kids out of school 1 or even 2 weeks before Spring Break “to avoid the busy time.” Remember, each of those scores will count against the school as a negative number.
With goals that are statistically impossible and regulations that force schools to fail, one would have to be brain-washed to believe the NCLB rhetoric.
Two other points to solidify the point even further:
1. There is absolutely NO, ZERO, NADA student accountability for this test. They have NO, ZERO, NADA incentive to even put forth any effort on this test and by high school, they don’t. Some of our make-up students–who seldom even come to class–will finish the six-part reading/writing test in 20 minutes. How would you like to have your job based on that student’s results?
2. The ultimate punishment for schools, after firing all the teachers and administrators, is to turn the school into a charter school. Pay attention here! Charter schools do not have to meet ANY NCLB requirements. They do not have to be tested in any way. If they decide to test themselves, nothing need be published. How will this “punishment” have any positive effect on education?
So, what do you think? Designed for student improvement or public school failure? Why did we let this go on so long, and why isn’t it being stopped instantly instead of “soon?” We should all be ashamed of ourselves and our government!