Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Journalist Who Supports Public School Teachers

A journalist who supports public school teachers? I didn't know such a being existed. This article by Michael Winerip does an outstanding job of explaining why so many teachers are not fans of No Child Left Behind.

As readers know, I’m not a fan of No Child Left Behind, the 2002 federal law aimed at raising education quality. Instead of helping teachers, for me it’s a law created by politicians who distrust teachers. Because teachers’ judgment and standards are supposedly not reliable, the law substitutes a battery of state tests that are supposed to tell the real truth about children’s academic progress.

The question is: How successful can an education law be that makes teachers the enemy?

While many education critics seem to believe that public schools should be able to responsible for getting students to perform as if social problems didn't exist, Winerip proposes a new program:

Which leads to my second proposal. We need a No Family Left Behind Law. This would measure economic growth of families and punish politicians in charge of states with poor economic growth for minority families.

FOR example, in Ohio, black families earn only 62 percent of white household income, one of the biggest disparities nationally. So every year, under No Family Left Behind, Ohio would be expected to close that income gap. If it failed to make adequate yearly progress for black families’ wealth, the governor and legislators would be judged failing, and after five years, could be removed from office. This way public schools wouldn’t be the only institutions singled out for failing poor children.

Great idea! Winerip also makes a good case for smaller class sizes in this article, and in general, presents teachers in a positive manner that is rare in the education press these days.

Now the bad news: Winerip says that this is his last education column.


Anonymous Mrs. Bog said...

No Family Left Behind, eh?
I like it, I like it!

7/13/2006 8:53 PM  
Blogger the anonymous teacher said...

Where can I sign for that?

7/15/2006 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7/20/2006 6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7/21/2006 3:24 PM  
Blogger Deb S. said...

This is an excellent article. Thanks for the heads up.

But, my dear friend Dennis, I'm hurt. My heart broke when I read your first two sentences: "A journalist who supports public school teachers? I didn't know such a being existed."

Give me a moment to compose myself. **sniff sniff**

I still consider myself a journalist, even though I've worked for a number of years in education. I spent a great deal of time - particularly in the early days of NCLB - supporting school districts, teachers in particular - when it comes to the challenges of NCLB.

I sat in on an interview with a St. Louis education reporter on the first comprehensive report here on No Child Left Behind - when superintendents and school board members were trying to sort out all of the federal law's mandates.

Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis, where I worked for several years as a public education advocate, has a video online that explains the goals of NCLB and how it impacts teachers. The video is 15 minutes long. Because it's a large file, it's best viewed if you have high-speed Internet. However, a smaller file is available for those who use dial-up. To view the video, click here.

By the way, the video was researched, written, produced and narrated by yours truly shortly after No Child Left Behind became law.

You know, Dennis, I'm going to do a Rodney Dangerfield here. I get no respect...none LOL!

8/08/2006 8:44 PM  

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