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Letter: Schools can’t keep up with No Child Left Behind

Posted: September 12, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 12, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

I am writing in response to your Sept. 2 editorial that claims that the success of the schools in our valley is a positive for everyone. As a Santa Clarita Valley teacher, I very much wish that were true.

We have recently been congratulated that our API scores are high, and we have met our California state goals for our “subgroups.”

But hold on a minute. ... It would seem that we have fallen short of meeting our federal goals for three out of four of these same subgroups. Never mind that these students may be learning English as a second language or that they have learning disabilities.

Don’t you teachers realize that there will be no child left behind?

Despite our successes in the classroom, each year the teachers of this valley and all across the United States are being told that despite our progress, what we are doing is not good enough.

No Child Left Behind does not take into account the challenges some of our students face every day, nor the challenges we face in teaching them. It is the “magic wand” approach to education, where all we have to do is wave it, and every student will achieve proficiency by the year 2013, despite whatever skills or challenges they bring to school with them every day.

In this “one size fits all” world, our teachers are ultimately doomed to fall short.

The school API score has become all, and this has led to some very unfortunate consequences.  The news of the network of cheating in Atlanta was followed by some recent news that some teachers in Los Angeles are doing it too.

We are constantly reminded that the pressure that has been placed on teachers has led people who would are expected to be role models to do some truly heinous things. We are being judged by how our students perform on these tests, and some teachers are doing what they feel they must to survive. High stakes testing, indeed.

Laws regarding student progress have been passed by people who, by and large, have little or no experience in the classroom. No Child Left Behind set up a system that will ultimately, and most assuredly, lead to schools not making their Adequate Yearly Progress.

The politicians and our administrators need to understand that we are working very hard to improve the lives of our students. To many of us, the school API score is just a number they write on the board in our staff room.

Until we have education law that makes sense, the “success” of our schools here in the Santa Clarita Valley — and everywhere else around this country — will not necessarily be good for everyone.

 

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