Crucifixion Eclipse : The Large Gizāh Pyramid : Nostradamus’ Birthdate at Central Axis of Giza Pyramid :
Parents are complaining foreigners, illegal aliens, migrants no longer believe doing homework is healthy. It causes stress. This fact resolves an issue that western high level of education is not for ‘all.’ The average kid does 6.8 Hours a week of homework. Moms are complaining Common Core is full or garbage education, so why bother. For the U.S.A. whose leaders push on Americans anti Democrats ( migrants, mainly brown Latins but also Moslem or Secular Arabs) western higher education is not fit for anti democrats – as democracy takes intelligence to run and our current U.S. Senate and HOR and Courts and Judges are today of limited intellectual capacity. One could say they are mentally challenged, incapable of running any form of Democracy. So with the Latins or brown people and taking over, teaching new kids about Democracy is futile and a waste of time.
As Christians in the Ottoman Empire proved races only get along if economnically and mutually beneficial, ,but never culturally or socially they love to live and act apart from outside cultures.-- 22.09.2014
|[Contact, Search]||World History - Yahoo! - Help|
|: H O M E :|
The No Child Left Behind Act
A solution to Hiring New Teachers
By Michael Johnathan McDonald
Analyzing Assessment Testing
Efficiency of testing students in the kindergarten to the twelfth grade level (K-12) has long been an issue in American history. However, in the last few decades the issues have intensified now that the economy has gone away from a product based economy toward a service based economy. This is because service oriented jobs require a lot of thinking. This has caused a scramble to educate all our children toward the majority of jobs that are left – thinking jobs. America in the early ‘70s "[...] came to understand that standards had to be raised if public education was to succeed" (Troen 134). We demand more from our children today. Life is much more complex in the 21st Century. The job market of today demands that many kids be junior Einsteins. This is not a bad thing - but it is extremely difficult thing. To keep up with the difficult demand of raising the education standards for our children, our government has pushed forward national grade level testing programs. These tests assess our children’s achievement levels in order to track them, making sure that they meet these standards.
The federal government’s new plans are a reward and punish system that is connected to a pseudo-national assessment test which has no standards. Every state will have its own standards. Billions of dollars are at stake for the states with the best tests scores. Each state will compete against the next state in a national report card. States that do not live up to these standards will be punished. They will be denied federal reward money. In addition to this federal dole-out of funds, these tests will result in siphoning away billions of tax dollars from the children. Also, the complexity of all these tests creates confusion for everyone involved. Pulling teeth has been described as the process of trying to keep up with all the bureaucratic red tape. Sometimes it seems that “School personnel are just agents of the bureaucracy […]” (Strickland 163). Schools have to buy tests and teachers have to administer them. Teachers have to keep detailed journals. Students have to miss class to take these tests. Teachers have to curtail their curriculum to teach up for these tests. Teachers have to learn when to use and when not to use certain words because each state has a banned word list. Schools have to make decisions of what standards will be used. The complexities of running all these tests have taken away the root of what education is: To teach the children. The children need to learn their curriculum, not the tests. In a state scramble for federal dollars, school testing creates a manipulative atmosphere unfair for our children, our teachers, our faculty and our public. In essence, overzealous testing of our children affects everyone in the United States.
Periodically in the last few decades the states in the nation give a test for English, Math and Science. These tests show parents as well as educators how well students in each state are performing. These are tests measuring one states achievement comparable to the next state. These tests are given throughout the K-12 levels. However, we must keep in mind that there is not yet a standardized test for the nation. In essence, there is no standard. An ongoing debate over federal government’s control of issuing national tests has long been an issue. President Clinton proposed a national reading test for our fourth grade children in his “State of the Union address in February of 1997” (Jones). He challenged "every school, every state, and every student to participate by 1999" (quoted. in Jones). At the time a federal organization that conducts tests, was reporting reading achievements of the age of 9 level that were “[…] significantly higher than in the early 1970’s” (qtd. in Jones). This meant the states and local school districts were doing their jobs. Clinton even acknowledge this that same year: "Our schools are offering broader and deeper curricula now, our students are taking more challenging courses now, our schools, by and large, are much better run now" (qtd. in Jones). Traditionally, all public school standards were left to state or their districts. This reflected the acknowledgment that “Less than a year earlier, President Clinton had agreed with the nation's governors that both educational standards and assessments should be developed by the states. Clinton told the governors, 'We can only do better with tougher standards and better assessment and you should set the standards. I believe that is absolutely right' “(qtd. in Jones). Many in the congress and the Executive Department wanted to keep federal government out of our schools.
Many feared that we were going were going in the opposite direction. The Bush administration realizing this has gone towards a national plan that in reality is manipulating schools. “Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) [2002 Act] states are required to establish their own annual tests aligned with state standards for grades three through eight to measure how successfully students are learning what is expected by the standards” (“The Facts About...State Standards”). This is where things get tricky. The official statements made by the department of NCLB are:
“President Bush's education reform plan, as implemented under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), does not create a national assessment, but does mandate that all states develop high standards and assessments. NCLB is designed to ensure that all students are held to high standards and that schools and states are held accountable for their performance, while, at the same time, leaving the primary responsibility for education in the hands of state and local authorities” (Schneer).
In addition, “Under NCLB, states developed and implemented a plan for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). States have the power to create assessments that match each state's unique needs and various curricula” (Schneer). People always quote that famous line for which I know not where it came from: “The Devils in the details.” There seems to be a unique partnership between local communities and the federal government. The word "primary" in the last sentence of the official statement provided by Schneer indicates that the word means most, but not all, responsibility for education is in the hands of the states. This word implies that indeed the federal government has its hand in the cookie jar. They want some form of control but are not logically thinking it through. If Bush is telling the states to have control on one hand then on the other hand his new “[…] law requires that all schools be held accountable for making sure that every student learns “[…]” or “Taxpayer dollars will only go to states that have standards and expectations for improving schools or teaching a solid academic curriculum” (“The Facts About...State Standards”). What standards are these? Every state makes up its own rules about its standards. If states all have different tests, then, how can we judge any report as definitive? We can’t. Will not a state manipulate tests to compete for the national dollars? Sure they will – this is big money. They already have. Schools have lowered their standards for the test in order for student’s to raise their scores. Moreover, teachers are being told to teach toward the test. This implies that the students are only going to learn what will be on the test. All the states think they are hurting the worst and need the federal money. Some of them are hurting more than others. These policies are hurting our children.
There are many problems that have been overlooked in this dish out of federal money. “The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a federally mandated project, was established in 1969 to assess the educational achievement of elementary and secondary students in various subject areas” (“National Assessment”). National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), sometimes called the “Nation’s Report Card,” is the “ […] nation's primary indicator of student achievement, reporting on what students know and can do in various school subject areas at grades 4, 8, and 12" (Nations Report Card). A sector of NAEP in 1994, the State Assessment Program, began to ask states to volunteer in a “[…] national assessment test […] “that “[…] ensures comparability with the national sample” (“The Nations Report Card”). Forty-four participating states joined. With “[…]…a trial reading assessment for the 4th grade” to determining whether such assessments yield valid and reliable State representative data” we can determine our nation’s education level. (“The Nations Report Card”). Or can we?
Every year some or all of the students are tested. The districts that participate, both public and private schools, purchase these tests from commercial test publishers and administer them. “Such tests generally carry well-know names such as Stanford 9, Metropolitan Achievement Test, or Iowa test of Basic Skills” (Bennett 424). The tests are called “[…] 'standardized' because they are administered in the same way with the same directions to all the children taking them” (Bennett 424). The biggest problem in calling them standardized tests is that “More and more states are developing their own academic standards and devising tests […] based on them” (Bennett 425). Most tests are multiple choices, yet schools have been devising their own “free response” items in tests that can only be answered by the opinions of the grader. Many people grade these exams; some that are paid only minimum wage. Many schools feel “A test to measure high levels of skills and knowledge must include open-ended tasks that can be performed with many different strategies” (Bolon). Taking a national census of our students is now in question when we take out our shovels and clear away the dirt that has piled up around this, buried, illogical policy.
Schools purchase these tests from various companies in a multi-million dollar testing industry. Usually small amount of students are randomly selected in each state and given a portion of one of these tests. This is a normal SRS (Simple Random Sample) procedure, a statistical measure to insure us as much accuracy as possible. This means that sometimes only 20-50 students of a grade are randomly pulled out of class in a school to be tested. From there, these tests then are sent to evaluating institutions. For example, UCLA, MIT and Stafford are three examples of Universities that collect, compile then analyze this data. This data is then comprised into a national index by NAEP, which goes into a single report card, then is issued to the public through the Department of Education. The government uses this data to form its opinions to distribute federal tax dollars. Usually media reports NAEP complied results with their respected states. For example, the most recent report in (2002), from the national Department of Education, in a national student assessment test for K- 12 students Californians ranked close to the bottom in reading and writing. “Overall, fourth- and eighth-graders in the Golden State are ranked near the bottom […]” (Gao). In addition, “[…] 12th-graders who took the test in 2002 showed a drop in writing proficiency among high school seniors […]” (Gao). These reports can have extreme emotional and financial affects on its states.
In 1999 California fourth graders ranked second to last in the nation. This statistic showed that “[…] only 20% of the students are considered proficient readers” (Helfand). These reports spur new policies into action in the form of bonds and measures. These reports have extreme circumstances. In 1994 California's low scores “[…] set off billions of dollars in education reforms” (Helfand). They are not just statistics that public demands. They are used for government school engagement as well. The desired effect these statistics have on people is getting them riled up to vote for new reforms. This is not a recent revelation. Reports of “California tied with Louisiana for last in reading in 1994, the last time the test was given--an embarrassing performance […]” that spurred on reforms when this report was released to Californians (Helfand). But these reports also have a psychological effect, as well, on the school districts themselves. For example, this same California report, “[…] led to a loss of confidence in local districts” (Trei). These psychological problems the states endure are due to funding restrictions placed on the school when their report cards show low results. Similarly, schools and districts are becoming accustomed to seeing their test scores made public through state reporting systems. This puts added pressure on the schools to manipulate the test.
This national assessment given out by NEAP cannot gauge correctly a states progress or regress. First, “[…] stemming from the failure of education officials to admit that we can never precisely know how achievement has changed — only rough estimates are possible. The government's foolish effort to track precise trends has led it to use the same test for 30 years” (Rothstein). Second, “To keep tests current, new items must be added and old ones dropped. So test trends will never unfailingly indicate proficiency changes” (Rothstein). For instance, in California a “500-word list“ of banned words in children’s textbooks does not reflect material on the NAEP test, which could coincide with actual questions 15 or 20 years ago. These words could be included or not on the test - thus, making the test bias (“Language”). A prime example is the title for Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. Every word except “and” is banned. For example, “sea can't be used in case a student lives inland and doesn't grasp the concept of a large body of water” (“Language”). Academic overseers are now looking for a new title according to “Dianne Ravitch, a former education official in President George H.W. Bush's administration and a consultant to the Clinton administration “(“Language”). Any reference to the Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea book in any of the tests would skew reliable results. For example, a child is asked about a certain sea and the word has always been banned, then there is a possibly he will not get the correct answer on the test.
There is another equation to assess the tests. That is the efficiency that these tests demonstrate to the public of the leaders running the schools. Some tests are required for school leaders. Periodically they are tested like the students. For example, Massachusetts Superintendent of Schools, Wilfredo T. Laboy who “[…] recently put 24 teachers on unpaid administrative leave because they failed a basic English test,” has himself called it a “stupid test” only after deep contemplation (“Massachusetts”). It turns out that he was recently forced to take three required basic English tests which he then failed them all! The testing system seems to be working for Laboy who just received a “[…] 3 percent pay hike this month that will raise his salary to $156,560” (“Massachusetts”). He was not put on administrative leave, like the others, and will be given more chances to pass the test. This example shows of the hypocrisy used in an assessment test. There are other examples that show assessment tests can have dire affects upon students.
Test based reform strategies have gathered wide rage of support. There are two reasons. First, how can anyone be against “High standards?” “Second, most Americans believe in the accuracy and fairness of judging students by what [President Clinton] has called ‘good tests’” (qtd. in Troen 94). These tests are not standard and therefore cannot be judged as good. Also, another way to assess what is a good test is to show how it affects students. For example, there are many problems that go along with scoring these tests. Mistakes have caused big problems in the past. “In 1999, a mistake made by a small testing company denied $2 million in achievement awards to deserving Kentucky school schools. In 1999, almost 9,000 New York City students were mistakenly assigned to summer school because of a flaw test” (Troen 94). It took almost six months to correct the mistake. Theses tests can have affects on socioeconomic poorer students that cause them to not get the curriculum they need. For example, in a landmark study by Professor of Education, Linda McSpadden McNeil in 2000 showed that in North Carolina ” […] three magnet schools were experiencing with poor, minority students. Teachers had to delete courses or units not covered on the tests, regardless of their success with students” (Bartlett). This brings up a more pressing issue for teachers.
Many states have adopted what is known as accountability acts. For example, California's Public School Ranking and Reward System signed into law April 1999, under the title Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA), which tends to stress out the teachers and school officials. “The PSAA aims to make schools responsible for their students' academic achievement and progress” (“California’s Public…Accountability Act”). This is a rewards and punishment system for schools. There are three main points: First, A method to measure how well a school is doing, called the Academic Performance Index (API). Second, a program to help schools that are considered "underperforming.” Third, Rewards for schools judged to be doing a good job or improving significantly. This is not a bad idea, yet coupled with budget crunch and overcrowding classrooms in California this idea seem cruel to teachers and school officials who have to make the API standard. California will be spending “hundreds of millions of dollars” implementing this new policy (“California's Public…Ranking and Reward System”). This policy seems a waste of money. Why do good schools need to be rewarded and bad schools punished? Money could be better used at targeting poor school districts to try to bring them up to the standard.
These problems bring up different issues in different states. States have taken a hard line against accountability. Accountability acts cost them loads of money dealt out in the presidents “No Child Left Behind” Act. They have lowered standards on their tests so the children can pass the tests. For example, “ When it became evident that too many fourth graders would not move on to the next grade, Ohio lawmakers nullified a requirement that would have compelled all fourth graders to score at the “ proficient: level in reading before going on to fifth grade” (Troen 95). This hurts our children.
“Even as their effectiveness is being challenged, packaged programs for improving instruction and school management continue to grow in popularity. To a large degree, this trend is attributed to the now widespread use of standardized tests. Nationwide, students are failing these tests in appalling numbers and harried state boards are searching for ways to raise scores. That often means finding textbooks and materials coordinated with tests, and then seeing to it that no matter what the weakness in instruction, students are going to acquire the information necessary to pass those exams” (Troen 122).
Some say that there is nothing wrong with “teaching to the test” as long as the test is demanding, the standards the test is based on is high, and students must know assignments or subject thoroughly in order to do well (Bennett 432). However, the accountability acts will punish schools financially and discipline teachers that do not achieve the API. Sometimes the schools and teachers are overburden with many problems that they have no control over. This act does not take into account that already under funded schools will perform low on assessment tests. Accountability acts cost allot of money to run. They also brought in with the NCLB Act a new synonymous term used in schools that take these tests.
The “No Child Left Behind” act will distribute 26 Billion dollars to states that pass these tests or meet the “high standards” discussed in the act. This has caused a term to come into use that is now a standard vernacular at all the schools that take these tests. They call it “High-stakes testing.” The pressure is felt at every level to meet the standards. In addition, over the next few years the states will match this dollar figure for the benefit of the children. According to the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) the states would need to spend “as much as $7 billion over the next seven years to develop, administer, and score the new tests” (Troen 92). “The president and Congress [are going to] provide the resources to pay for testing: $384 million in 2003 to help states develop and administer reading and math tests. The president's 2004 budget requests $390 million.” (“The Facts About...State Standards”). This seems to be a waste of money. All the problems that these tests present to us could be mitigated by limiting yearly testing. This way we could use the money, appropriated for these tests, more efficiently.
Assessment tests can be useful instruments, but they are relegated to only that. If the standards are “[…]”slipping from year to year, then comparing your child to a lower-achieving norming sample may not tell you whether your child is getting the kind of education [he or] she needs” (Bennett 425). If we take the yearly allotment of allocated funds from the NCLB Act and decide to limit testing once in every four years, new teachers can be hired. For example, the 2004 budget requests $390 million dollars to be spent on testing. If we take this figure and project it over the next four years, this would come out to be $1.56 billion dollars. If we decided to limit the test to every four years we could hire 9,523 new teachers. This means that each state would receive 183 new teachers. This is if we use the 2001-02 average beginning salary figure $30,714 from the American Federation of Teachers (Nelson 3). If we decided to hire higher-qualified teachers, then the salaries would increase and the number of teachers would diminish. If we take The National Association of State Boards figures for each state’s purported yearly expenditure [$20 million dollars a year] of developing and administrating the test. States could hire 447 new teachers each for seven years. Then states could distribute the teachers to their respective districts that are most needy. These are approximate numbers due to the fact that development of the test is usually done once, and there is no itemized list of expenditures for scouring tests. In addition, a discrepancy in the NCLB Act is discovered when we calculate the NASBE estimates. According to the act states are required to match federal funds for testing. However, the states are clearly spending more than twice the amount as the federal government is per-year. This seems to be the “fuzzy math” President Bush is always talking about. Ironically, the NCLB Act is his program.
We should leave no child left behind. However, the Bush administration NCLB Act seems to do this. Financially rewarding schools that meet these high standards is not fair. This would only create an unbalanced solution. Economically disadvantaged school districts would be left out in the cold. This is because they will fail the test more often due to inadequate materials and instructors. This particular issue is a sticking point in many Department of Education studies. In addition, these tests should not be used against states as bargaining chips for federal distribution of education funds. This implies that indeed, a national plan is to control schools through a pseudo-national assessment testing. “We have spent billions of dollars, with lousy results. Now it’s time to spend billions of dollars and get good results,” said President Bush, who was quoted in a Time magazine article January 21, 2002” ( Troen 92). This seems merely another empty promise. Americans could save billions of dollars by relinquishing much of these testing policies and putting the focus back into funding our children’s educations. The students of the nation need books, desks, buildings, and higher-qualified teachers. Policies of overzealous testing make no sense. A manipulative atmosphere that tests creates; is unfair for our children, our teachers, our faculty and our schools. We are just throwing our money away. We need to rethink the national assessment testing policy and figure out a way to run our schools with more efficiency.
Bartlett, Lesley. “The Tyranny of the Test: The Social Implications of North Carolina's
Accountability Program.” University of North Carolina 1 August 2003.
Bennet, William J., Chester E. Finn, Jr. and John J.E. Cribb Jr. The Educated Child: A Parent’s Guide from Preschool through Eight Grade. New York: The Free Press, 1999.
Bolon, Craig. “School-based Standard Testing.” Education Policy Analysis Archives. 12 May 2001. 8.23 National Parent Informational Net Work. Los Angeles Valley Coll. Lib. 1 August 2003. <http://npin.org/library/2001/n00539/n00539.html>.
“California’s Public School Ranking and Reward System: California’s Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA).” Feb. 2003 Ed Source. 31 June 2003
“California's Public School Ranking and Reward System.” The El Tejon Unified School District Jan 2003. 29 July 2003
"The Facts About...State Standards: No Child Left Behind. " U.S. Department of
Education 2003. No Child Left Behind Act Online 30 July 2003.
, Helen. “State kids' writing better, still dismal.” Los Angeles Daily News. 10 July
2003. 10 July 2003.
Helfand , Duke. “California Ranks Second to Last in U.S. Reading Test. “ Los Angeles
Times Online 5 March 1999. National Center for Education Statistics. Los
Angeles Valley Coll. Lib., Van Nuys, CA. 21 July 2003. <http://nces.ed.gov/>.
Jones, Lyle V. “National Tests and Education Reform: Are They Compatible? William
H. Angoff Memorial Lecture Series” Research Poly Information Center. 2003:
30 July 2003. <http://www.ets.org/research/pic/jones.html>.
"Language police bar 'old,' 'blind'." CNN 28 May 2003. 21 July 2003.
“Massachusetts school superintendent fails must-pass English test”. Associated Press 3
Aug. 2003. 5 Aug. 2003 < http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-
"National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and Iowa Tests of Basic Skills:
(ITBS) Results for North Carolina and the Nation" Jan. 2000. North Carolina
Department of Public Instruction Accountability Services Reporting. 30 July
Nelson, F. Howard and Rachel Drown. "Survey and Analysis of Teacher Salary Trends
2002." American Federation of Teachers. 2003. 7 August 2003
Rothstein, Richard. “National Test is Out of Tune with Times: For test trends to properly
indicate proficiency changes, new items must be added and old ones dropped.”
New York Times, 27 March 2002. 30 July 2003.
Schneer, Matthew. “RE: Is Bush for National Standard test for K-12."
E-mail to the author. 30 June 2003. U.S.
Strickland, Guy. Bad Teachers: the Essential Guide for Concerned Parents. New York: Pocket Books, 1998
“The Nations Report Card.” National Center for Education Statistics. 5 April 2001. 29
Trei, Lisa. “California schools are over dependent on unpredictable state funding, Kirst says.” Stanford Report. 21 March 2001.31 July 203. <http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/report/news/march21/kirst-321.html>.
Troen, Vivian and Katherine C. Boles. Who’s Teaching Your Children ? Connecticut:
Yale University Press/ New Haven & London, 2003.
5 August 2003 (This essay was written in the format of TTT)
Copyright © 2003 Michael Johnathan McDonald; BookofLife.org
Copyright © 1999 - 2013 Michael Johnathan McDonald