Thursday, October 18, 2007

Failing Schools Strain to Meet U.S. Standard

For those who doubt the value of NCLB, read this recent NYT article, Failing Schools Strain to Meet U.S. Standard.  The law is finally providing a well-deserved kick in the ass to those who would prefer to whine about how hard it is to operate schools that actually educate children at even a basic, minimal standard rather than doing whatever it takes to actually accomplish that goal.  

I think this is great -- I hope every parent in the country whose child is being miseducated sues, demanding that the money being (mis)spent on his/her child's education is instead given to the parent, in order to find a better alternative (just like the special ed case the Supreme Court ruled on last week).

As a result, the law is branding numerous schools as failing, but not  producing radical change — leaving angry parents demanding redress. California  citizens’ groups have sued the state and federal government for failing to  deliver on the law’s promises.
“They’re so busy fighting No Child Left Behind,” said Mary Johnson,  president of Parent U-Turn, a civic group. “If they would use some of that  energy to implement the law, we would go farther.”

As for this question:

           “What are we supposed to do?” Ms. Paramo asked. “Shut down every school?”

Uh...YES!  Not all at once and not permanently, but I think it's critical to shut down chronically failing schools (and all the people in them who failed to educate children) -- and bring in new people: maybe a proven charter school operator, for example.  Many of the best are trying to expand, but can't find facilities.  What a win-win!

Speaking of which, this is a flaw that should be fixed:

Beyond that, the federal law does not trump contract agreements, and so teachers have generally not lost their jobs or faced transfer when schools stagnate.

Re. my comment in yesterday's email about Randi being better than other union leaders, get a load of this utter crap (LA is a freakin' disaster, rivaling Newark and DC):

A. J. Duffy, president of United Teachers of Los Angeles, said the union supported test score reviews provided they did not affect teachers’ jobs. Mr. Duffy said the federal law glossed over the travails of teaching students living in poverty. “Everyone agrees that urban education needs a shot in the arm, but it is not as bleak as the naysayers  would have it,” he said.


October 16, 2007
Failing Schools Strain to Meet U.S. Standard

LOS ANGELES — As the director of high schools in the gang-infested neighborhoods of the East Side of Los Angeles, Guadalupe Paramo struggles every day with educational dysfunction.

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