Many of us were aware of a law that was passed over a decade ago when Bush was POTUS called No Child Left Behind (NCLB). It was an effort taken by the Federal Government to get involved with the education system country-wide in hopes of helping students pass their proficiency exams i.e. regents exams by 2014(+). Essentially, the government provided funding to schools and left the changes up to the them. The law has a way to determine the progress of each school through what they call the AYP or Adequate Yearly Progress. The AYP is their projection of students moving on each school should achieve as the years go by leading up to 2014. The law also defines ways in which a school can improve the academic standing of its students in order to meet the coming year’s AYP(+). Sounds like a good plan on the surface, however there’s a few main issues with this law.
(-)# 1: The goal of getting students to pass by 2014 applies to all students in the school. Meaning they’re looking for 100% pass rate, which is completely impractical.
(-)# 2: If a school fails to meet the AYP requirements, they have to take “corrective measures” each year going from 1-5 years. If each consecutive year the school fails to meet the standard, there are more severe measures the school is expected to implement . Granted, sometimes better can come from cleaning house, but at the same time its not always the school’s administrators, faculty, or leadership that the problem resides in. The students and parents are also part of the problem.
(-)# 3: The APY goes up yearly as we get closer to 2014. If we can’t get an adequate pass rate, then how can implementing certain changes account for all the varying issues to come up during the school year, as well as turn those troubled students around? It can’t. Unless of course the changes are effective (they aren’t).
(-)# 4: Lets take our attention to the chart titled “School Improvement Options” at the bottom of the provided link. Peep year 4. It says “During the first year of restructuring, the LEA (Local Education Authority) is required to prepare a plan and make necessary arrangements to carry out one of the following options:
(1)Reopen school as charter school.
(2)Replace principal and staff.
(3)Contract for private management company of demonstrated effectiveness.
(5)Any other major restructuring of school governance.”
After looking at that you finally understand why these charter schools are popping up all over. If you don’t know what a charter school is , its pretty much (in North America) A publicly funded independent school established by teachers, parents, or community groups under the terms of a charter with a local or national authority. Sounds good right? Not really. The charter schools that are going to pop up all over are going to become private corporations which means education will become a multi-million if not billion dollar business just like prisons are today. All schools will suffer this fate after the 2014 evaluations. Unless a school can somehow accomplish the 100% pass rate of course (highly unlikely).
Now more than ever is it more important for students to become more self motivated and see whats at risk here. Whether they realize it or not they are our future and life is going to require more from them than some mundane behaviors and DILIGAF facial expressions. They are going to have to strive and work hard. Those of us that moved on from public school know that now is not the time to be playing around, and that those values are fundamental for an individual’s success in the coming years. I don’t know what the solution is for effectively educating the next generation, but if there aren’t any things done to correct this and prevent further decline, this one issue will impact us like a golf ball. Hitting one a few degrees off target will mean the difference between a hole in 1 and somewhere nasty and too cumbersome to correct immediately. Of course we can always ignore it and bank on the Mayan’s being right about 2012 and all that…