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No Child Left Behind: how's that working?(12 posts)

No Child Left Behind: how's that working?dr hoo
Nov 11, 2003 6:29 PM
Any opinions? I am looking for anything anyone knows about this policy and the outcomes of that policy.

References to the effects Bush had on the Texas educational system seem relevant. That might give us longer term data to make evaluations.

Here's a link that's a red herring... or is it?'re killn' me.MR_GRUMPY
Nov 12, 2003 6:03 AM
I think the policy applies to the children of the wealthy.
LOL! Well, it's working GREATOldEdScott
Nov 12, 2003 6:09 AM
for a 'reform' that hasn't been funded!
What does your link have to ....Live Steam
Nov 12, 2003 6:37 AM
do with the No Child Left Behind Act?

Here are some links you could have Googled on your own to find out the info you seek.
Red herring?dr hoo
Nov 12, 2003 7:08 AM
I did say it was a red herring, no? Do you understand the meaning of the phrase?

If you want to link it, consider it an example of the unintended consequences of what starts out sounding like a good policy... in this case "zero tolerance". Now consider that the NCLB progam is set up in such a was that eventually ALL SCHOOLS WILL BE FAILING SCHOOLS. What are the implications of that down the road?

As for your links, you need some better research skills. Government propaganda and a rather uninformative news paper story hardly constitutes looking into the EFFECTS of the program.

Comment that the program encourages mediocrity at the expense of excellence:

A story on the bugetary impacts of the program... "Instead of taking care of children, NCLB is liable to damage them by undermining the public system's already strained capacities.":

Lots of links here: "A look at the ambitious promise, surprising politics, and potential pitfalls of President George W. Bush's landmark education bill, the No Child Left Behind Act."

Might as well throw in an NEA story for you to discount as well:
old news128
Nov 12, 2003 6:52 AM
You mean No Child Left Behind in any public schools?PdxMark
Nov 12, 2003 10:54 AM
The policy is working great - to dismantle public education.

Here's how it works. We have a large, successful urban school district. Most schools have pretty good test results, some have great results, and some have poor results.

The level of success of students at different schools tends to correlate with the socio-economic status of the neighborhoods where the schools are located. This is within the context of school boundaries being gerrymandered a bit to introduce more socio-econ diversity within the schools than neighborhood boundaries would provide.

My opinion is that, within a district with uniform funding, school testing success relates to socio-econ levels because families at higher socio-econ levels do a variety of things that help their kids learn ... like feed them, read to them, value education, etc.

With No Child Left Behind (in public schools), kids at "unsuccessful" schools are allowed to move to "successful" schools. The effect that we've seen is that the successful schools suffer serious overcrowding (classrooms not big enough to fit desks for all the students), which brings increased conflicts and a decrease in the learning environment at the "successful" school.

In step 2, families at higher socio-ecom levels leave the public schools due to the unworkable conditions created by mindlessly cramming arbitrary bodies into the finite space of a school. The test scores of the formerly successfuil schools begion to drop, and the cycle repeats.
The other side is in NOLA, yet the end effect is the same--long.sn69
Nov 12, 2003 9:13 PM
Much like the rest of New Orleans' long-suffering, horridly atrophied infrastructure, the Orleans Parish School District suffers from negligence at an order of magnitude above most other places I have either experienced personally (Houston and St Pete) or witnessed as an adult (Alachua County, Pensacola, Santa Rosa County, the various San Diego Unified Distrcits).

Essentially, an over-powered parochial school lobby has created a niche in a particularly parochially-oriented city/parish whereby they--the parochial school system--reape huge monetary rewards by actively lobbying to keep the public school system woefully underfunded. It's bad beyond description--most of the Orleans Parish public schools (elementary, middle or high) lack air conditioning, have texts often dating to the early 60s, lack sufficient teaching staff, suffer from dangerously deteriorating physical infrastructure, etc.... In fact, while my better half and I were damned to that horrid zit on the a@@ of America, we watched as the MAJORITY of the city's public schools had their accredidation revoked due to endemically poor exit testing and below-standard infrastructure. In the meantime, our neighbors paid extortion to the local church's schools to the tune of $400-$900 A FRIGGIN MONTH per child, often for a f__king elementary school education. That is criminal, plain and simple.

Thus, Hoo, I'd say that Every Child Left Behind, is a more apt title. Well, okay, perhaps not every...there are still good school districts out there and a lot of incredible, underappreciated, under-compensated teachers (the MOST noble of callings IMHO), yet still our system is not meeting the needs of the modern world, and I think that socio-economic egalitarianism begins with our next generation(s). The children of the poor should be granted the same educational opportunities as those of the rich. It's not Constitutional; rather, it's a moral imperative of a culturally diverse, monetarily rich society that can--plain and simply--afford to make it happen.

If only our leaders saw it the same way. Tragically, until their job secutiry is directly tied to it, change won't happen. And in my naive, insulated single malt-colored world, I fail to understand how partisan politics can play into the education of our children. F_ck the religious establishment. F_ck the politcal parties. We are the richest, most well-endowed nation in the history of mankind, yet we cannot somehow reconcile this simple, critical issue?!?! (Incidentally, I have tutored voluntarily at under-priviledged schools, so at least I have put my $ where my mouth is to a certain extent.)

Here's a counter-question, Hoo. In your oh-so-typcial (but sometimes correct) self-righteousness, what shall parents do? Should parents make social experiments of their own children whilst lobbying for improvements in the system? Should they forgo their own professional advancement (and thus thier children's financial futures)to move somewhere more "lucrative" for their little ones (my wife is a research scientist like you...could/would you do that)? Should they fold and either home-school or send their kids to private schools? --Honestly, I don't know, and I'd love to hear what everyone's thoughts are on this subject. It's an extremely disturbing proposition, and my wife and I often joke half-heartedly that when/if we're blessed with munchkins, we'll move to some small town in NorCal's Lost Coast or somewhere in the mountains if only to get our kids away from the pestilence plaguing our cities. ...And even that is a cop-out of sorts, an intentional avoidance of the larger problem.

It's really disturbing. I'd like to hear others' thoughts on this subject.
my takeDuane Gran
Nov 13, 2003 8:07 AM
Should they fold and either home-school or send their kids to private schools? --Honestly, I don't know, and I'd love to hear what everyone's thoughts are on this subject. It's an extremely disturbing proposition, and my wife and I often joke half-heartedly that when/if we're blessed with munchkins, we'll move to some small town in NorCal's Lost Coast or somewhere in the mountains if only to get our kids away from the pestilence plaguing our cities. ...And even that is a cop-out of sorts, an intentional avoidance of the larger problem.

I don't see this as a cop-out. My fiance and I are considering home schooling and definitely private schooling. We simply don't have confidence in the public school system. In addition, as snobbish as this may sound, we could spend 50% more on a home in a good school district and the benefit could be disrupted by all manner of school reform. At least with private education I know what I'm getting.

I think if more people opted for it (and I realize it isn't easy to do) we would be better off. After all, even when I pay for private school I pay taxes to public schools, so the biggest winner should be the public school, right?
A few thoughts.... (long)PdxMark
Nov 13, 2003 10:08 AM
The public/private/home school choice is one we thought through. Part of the reason for my rant about Almost Every Child Left Behind is that it is working to undermine and eliminate the public school choice. We are fortunate to have a public school system that is good, widely attended, and successful. So it was a viable choice for us to consider.

I get agitated over some of our local tax issues because middle class acceptance of the public schools as a viable choice for their kids is quite fragile. Almost Every Child Left Behind is very effectively hacking away at that middle class acceptance. It drives us to a situation that was summarized by a local GOP state legislator... "It's OK to let the public schools fail, because then people will send their kids to parochial schools where they'll get a good Christian education."

Public school is the best choice for our kids. They would probably learn more if we home schooled them. The Catholic School down the block is not any better than our public school, and probably is not as creative or forward thinking in its educational program. The kids would probably learn more at the top prep schools in town, which is on the other side of the city and costs $12k/yr/kid.

But I think school is about more than just academics. It's a critically important socializing process. Both girls have developed socially and matured immeasurably - in ways that would not have happended if they were home schooled. They have a mix of kids that they have to learn to relate to. There are kids of different races, different socio-econ backgrounds. The girls see past all that and relate to the other kids on the basis of personal character. I know that in the prep schools they would not see the same mix of people. The girls would also have no sense of community in our local neighborhood if they just had prep school friend scattered all over the metro area.

So for us, the good local public school wins out over home schooling because of the social skills, community, and daily interactions that help the girls grow as individuals. The public school wins out over the prep school because the difference in the education, if any, does not outweigh the loss of understanding of different people that the cloistered prep schools would leave. (I also wonder if the kid wouldn't be better off to get the $144k, plus interest, as a nest egg after college rather than spend the money on prep school.)

Public schools are criticized for their high costs relative to other countries and historical spending. I've researched this a bit, and it seems that a significant part of those costs relates to the maintstreaming of disabled kids into regular classrooms. The budgeting for the mainstreamed disabled kids is now rolled into regular school budgets. I suspect (but don't know) that disabled education was previously off the regular school budget.

Mainstreaming is a good thing, but it's cost is huge. Our oldest had a classmate for 3 yrs who was a Spanish-speaking, moderately servere Downs syndrome kid. A great kid, but she had a personal full-time aide. The kids in the class learned alot having Carlota as a classmate, helping her, etc. But the dollar cost was huge.

If we did not have a good public school system, we'd probably not have our kids there. The choice between local parochial school, home schooling, and fancy prep school would the come down to a balance between the philosophies & costs of the schools and the socializing options for a home scholled kid. I'd probably lean towards a neighborhood parochial school over a prep school across the city if the religious teaching of the neighborhood parochial school not too extreme or dogmatic.

While home schooling has great academic potential, I have doubts about how well socialized a kid would be after 8 or 12 years of that. I've met and interviewed many lawyers who are academically brilliant but socially retarded. Academic
My brilliant solution:dr hoo
Nov 13, 2003 1:34 PM
Move to Canada.

Ok, I don't have a solution. Sorry. I can look at what is done and say from the data the effects of programs, but I don't know enough to even begin to solve the issues that face education in this country at a macro policy level. Especially as most educational issues are (imo) local issues.

What can parents do? Move to states with schools that work. That's what I did (and I can say that teaching the products of the system is nice compared with my time in California. Complete sentences and everything!) But short of that, the best thing is to be involved with your child's education as much as you can.

Read to them as they grow. Encourage curiosity. But more importantly GO TO THEIR SCHOOLS. Join the PTA, volunteer for classroom activities. Go to school board meetings. Take ownership of the schools. And if the schools resist, elect new school board members. That's what parents are to do. Get involved even if they go to private school, it is that important not only to your own child's education, but to every child in your community.

Parental individual and collective action. That's the best I can offer.

From what little I know about it, level of parental involvement is one of the best predictors or school success there is. More involvement = better schools. Less involvement = poorer schools all things equal. At least I think I remember reading that!

From this perspective, poverty has two main effects on education. One, poor facilities and materials (like backing up sewers and 20 year old textbooks). Two, poverty requires a lot of work and little free time. When a single parent is working two jobs, it's hard to go to a PTA meeting very often. Given a "disorganized" neighborhood with many broken homes, high levels of poverty, etc, the number of parents who can get involved is much lower. Money will help, but without involvement it won't help much.

So our current situation is, in a way, set up as a social dilemma. Schools suck, so people pull out of them. Those that pull out are most likely to have the resources to be involved parents. Less involved parents leads to poorer schools. More people leave. etcetera. Individual level rationality (people making educational decisions for their kids) leads to negative effects for the system as a whole.

One way to minimize or eliminate this kind of situation (social dilemmas in general) is to increase feelings of community and collective identity. Change the way people look at the situation, from an individual decision and its impacts, to looking at the effects on the group and community.

But parents who don't put their own kid first aren't good parents. So this idea of "community committment" doesn't do much good. At least not that I can see.

See, I told you no solutions!

I need to do some reading on this when I get a chance.
Funny you should ask53T
Nov 15, 2003 4:55 PM
I did my Master's Thesis on that very question, predictivly, not retrospectively. Would you like a copy? Basically 100 pages demonstrating that there will be no effect. I'm a conservative and support Bush, so this is pretty rigorous.