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View Diary: Dear Mr. President, (208 comments)

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  •  NCLB rethink going on wrt waivers? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    10 states recently qualified for waivers. It seems as though with non-troubled schools being affected as the ratchet gets higher, there's been a relaxing attitude.

    You're right. Low poverty schools do fairly well with low poverty, non-disabled students. Is that due to :

    1. Teachers and staff
    2. Curriculum
    3. Peer effect that most of the peers are decently behaved and fairly educationally motivated
    4. Educated parents who can reinforce or if necessary supplement or provide the information received in the classroom

    Our system does a dreadful job of educating students who live in segregated poverty. And I'm not convinced we've really ever been successful at it on a large scale. In "ye good olde dayes", the small group that were bright went on and did well for themselves and the majority that weren't got jobs in factories and did well for themselves, too. They were able to use their factory wages to live a better lifestyle with their children and their children did a  little better.

    One of the things I like about NCLB is the subgroup breaking down. I think it's useful to know that New Trier is not succeeding with its special ed population. My home school district is not making AYP because of special ed either. That points out that special ed needs better techniques otherwise these students are going to be hurting for the rest of their lives.

    •  sorry, but have to disagree (10+ / 0-)

      issue with special ed kids not passing is that we are holding them to standards that are not relevant -  if standards are low enough that most special ed kids could pass, then they are too low to be meaningful measures of learning of regular and gifted kids.

      The idea of subgroups might be meaningful, except states found ways of gaming that by setting subgroups too high -  in some cases as large as 25.

      On the other hand, if a subgroup was a small as 5, one kid not testing automatically meant the school failed to make AYP even if EVERY OTHER KID IN THE SCHOOL GOT 100% ON THE TEST.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 08:27:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Special ed is meant to remediate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus

        And get the students able to compensate for their disabilities.

        My home district had a blind person when I was in school. Back then, I'm fairly sure there wasn't IEPs, but there was a plan. She was provided with a braille interpreter, braille tools, and tought braille and she graduated pretty high in her class. Her education wasn't compromised, she learned from the same curriculum as every other student. She just needed an interpretive layer.

        My niece was a special ed student until 10th grade due to ADD. She learned to focus using techniques taught to her during her pullout sessions. She also received additional tutoring to reinforce material presented in her classes. Again, her curriculum was not changed from the overall one.

        My understanding is that the developmentally disabled with low IQ are able to skip the testing entirely.

        25 doesn't seem unreasonable as a number for a threshhold. Like you said, if you make it too low, it can skew the scores way too much just by one student's scores.

        •  almost no one can skip the tests (10+ / 0-)

          CMI kids can take the alternative proficiency assessment in NJ, a task so onerous it is only used for kids who are profoundly retarded. i have had autistic kids take the test and get a zero score. I have had a psychotic kid forced to take the test while in residential placement; his essay was so disturbing we got a call from the state; we explained the kid is profoundly mentally ill and is basically locked up. no matter how much remediation you do, kids in LD classes, who often have IQ's in the mid70's will never pass the test. They take it and fail, before they graduate, they usually fail the HS test, then we wiave the retake, citing the kid's disability. But the scores have already been counted. By the way, the child's scores are always reported as part of the neighborhood school's, whether he is in an out of district placement for the disabled, another local public school receiving special services, or in jail. So kids you never even see can fail and under the rules these cretins advocate, can cause you to lose your job. It's a shame people on the outside really have no idea what the fuck they are talking about, but it wouldn't matter; their goals are not really about the kids, but about regulating the adults....so they can get them cheaper.

          •  so why isn't that a separate argument? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JanL, worldlotus

            The profoundly disturbed and disabled are being tested and counted against schools? You seldom hear that argument from teachers against NCLB? Usually it's just about narrowing the curriculum or teaching to the test and such.

            If that was brought up more often and instances cited, it might start to change minds.  At least you could get that part, with which most reasonable people can agree, changed.

            •  Most people are unaware of most ed policy (9+ / 0-)

              yes, the disabled are tested. If he can write his name, he is to be tested. The goal is to make the schools look bad; so you want everyone tested in order to help drag the scores down, thereby claiming public schools don't work and should be abolished. Forget all the bullshit, this is what it's about, and the Dems should not be supporting it.

              •  I don't think that is the goal (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                worldlotus

                I don't think the goal is to make the school look bad. I think it is to uncover the fact that we, as a society, are failing to properly educate a lot of students.

                The public has a conception that special education is meant to remediate (if possible) the disabliity (e.g. Braille or ASL help for blind or deaf students or tutoring and focusing help for students that are easily distracted or a little slow) OR to provide an appropriate education if the students is cognitively disabled. If a student has an IQ (and I don't like using the measure 'cause I don't trust the concept or measurement) of 60, then teaching him calculus is bunk. He should be taught what he can learn and what will be useful to him.

                Does anyone think schools are worse now than they were 50 years ago? All NCLB is doing is uncovering the truth  that our educational system doesn't work for vast swaths of students.  It doesn't work for an awful lot of poor students (especially those in generational, socio-economic segregated poverty), it doesn't work for a lot of the disabled, it doesn't work well for some non-English speaking students.

                •  Sorry, but I agree with leftangler (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ladyjames, JanL, vacantlook

                  the goal is to make public education look bad.  It helps them to bust unions and further privatize the education system in this country.

                  You wrote:

                  I think it is to uncover the fact that we, as a society, are failing to properly educate a lot of students.
                  and
                  All NCLB is doing is uncovering the truth  that our educational system doesn't work for vast swaths of students.
                  How do you know this is true and, if true, what makes you so certain that this is the fault of the public schools and teachers?

                  Stand Up! Keep Fighting! Paul Wellstone

                  by RuralLiberal on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 01:33:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't think it is the teachers' faults (0+ / 0-)

                    That's why I said society, not the teachers.

                    How do I know it is true? Well if I look at the rate of employment of Chicago's special ed students it is quite low.

                    If I look at the dropout rate of Chicago's students serving the poorest students, it is quite high.

                    The test scores are abysmal.

                    There is a stubborn, huge gap between poor and non-poor students. This has some to do with higher rates of special education students due to lead paint; due to higher levels of environmental pollution; due to malnourishment and low levels of prenatal care; and probably other causes besides.
                    This also has to do with other problems related to poverty like: truancy; violence and threats of violence; mobility; children in foster care; homelessness and again, others.

                    Eventually the 6th grade teacher is faced with a class of 30; 3 of which are at grade level; and 27 of which run the gamut from 3rd to 5th grade level. There is 1 that won't shut up and 1 that has outbursts whenever challenged to learn. There is probably at least one bully. The teacher will try to teach all of these students with varying levels of success. It is likely the 3 who were at grade level won't succeed as well as they would have if they had been in a class that was all at grade level.

                    So maybe the answer is to stop age grouping the students and start ability grouping them? Put the 3 sixth grade level students in a class with 7th and 8th graders who are at 6th grade level. Put the 6th graders at 3rd grade level in with other students at that grade level. But now if you have a bully, you'll have even more problems when the bully is 5 years older and 30 lbs heavier than the other students.

                •  NCLB is much much worse than you think (4+ / 0-)
                  "All NCLB is doing is uncovering the truth  that our educational system doesn't work for vast swaths of students"
                  This is simply not the case.

                  NCLB has undermined and is undermining public education.  The stooges of late stage capitalism (e.g. The Manhattan Institute, Fordham folks, Michelle Rhee apologists, etc.) are using this manufactured instability to try and capture revenue streams by privatizing education.

                  Those who applaud this are, and I say this reluctantly, "useful idiots."  

                  The Koch Bros. are not your friends.  And organized labor (teachers' unions) are not your enemy.

                  There are Democrats - including Obama and Duncan - that seriously need to buy a clue.

                  For what is the crime of the robbing of a bank compared to the crime of the founding of a bank? - Brecht

                  by Joe Hill PDX on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 03:14:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  purpose of education (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    worldlotus

                    You know what I want for the students in my area that are from families of generational and segregated poverty to receive from the educational system?

                    A ticket to at least the lower middle class. I want them to be capable of doing college level work whether they go or not. I want them to be literate, numerate, and to have the ability to learn new things. I want them able to evaluate sources of information as to reliability. I want them able to think critically. I want them all to graduate.

                    I want them to have a plan for their future. If they want to work in the trades, I'd like for them to leave high school with an apprenticeship. If they want to enter the military, I want them  capable of doing that. If they want to go to college, I want them to not have to take remedial classes.

                    I realize, this isn't all about the school. The school has its role to play, but so do other parts of society.

                    •  those things are being done well in many schools (0+ / 0-)

                      right now. we have a vocational track in NJ that is excellent.We have madehuge strides inclsoing the achievement gap. We have people moving here to take advantage of special education, which we do better than most states ( we provide an entire child study team with a social worker, psychologist, and learning consultant, and each does case management; in other states a school psychologist performs all these functions and a teacher acts as case manager, a role they are not even the least bit trained for, and one for which they have no time to do adequately )

                      •  I forgot to add... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        NWTerriD

                        our thanks for this is a governor who has mostly successfully ( with Dem leadership ) pinned the state's budget crisis on teachers and cut their pay and standard of living. Now he is going after job security and seniority, so that they can man the schools with TFA  recruits who have no serious training. I cannot in good conscience advise anyone to go into teaching. i'd stick to the health fields, You can make more cleaning teeth or taking x-rays with a short course of study at a county college. And no one will call you an overpaid leech.

        •  Your understanding is wrong. No skipping the tests (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladyjames, JanL, vacantlook

          at least under the rules in my state.
          Even moderately intellectually disabled children are among those required to take the test, not just mildly disabled.
          Yes, they can learn, but those children are never going to be able to master the regular curriculum and perform on grade level to their peer. Yet if they don't "pass" the test, your school fails.
          This is so wrong.
          And quite stressful for these children.
          And it is NOT THE FAULT OF THE TEACHER. The teacher is not doing a poor job.
          That is what teachers are mad about. This kind of idiocy is continued under Obama.

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