Welcome to the latest superintendent snapshot addressing some feedback we have received concerning YPP. Enjoy!
Question – NCLB goals
I recently received a copy of the revised AYP/NCLB goals at school. I know that Granite District is very concerned about achieving these goals by 2014. The aims of NCLB have always confused me. How can we as teachers be expected to have 100% of the students in our class and school achieve this by the year 2014? To me this is like asking the police to have no crime, doctors cure all illnesses, firefighters have no fires to fight, etc. by the year 2014. As hard as I try, there is no way I am going to have all of my students reading on grade level and doing math on grade level by any certain year. The only thing this is going to do is set me and my school up for failure. It is also going to cause many educators to leave teaching and it won’t be because they are poor teachers. Many will leave because they just can’t make students meet these goals. Teacher morale is at an all-time low, and I know because I have been teaching for almost 30 years. I will be able to retire in 2015 so will not be around much after we are supposed to reach these milestones. When are we going to start holding the parents responsible for how their children are doing in school? My school has not made AYP the last two years because of attendance issues and parent/student apathy. It’s okay for parents to take their children out of school for vacation but it counts against the teacher and the school, not the parents and students. Any light you can shed on this would be greatly appreciated.
We’re so proud of teachers and their efforts – and how far we’ve come! You draw interesting analogies and point out some of the flaws we’ve seen in NCLB for some time, not to mention the stress fractures it’s causing in so many of us.
You may have heard from your principal, and you will hear more in the future, that our focus needs to be on the progress of individual students – rather than a focus on larger averages. NCLB has helped us look closely at subgroups, but has also forced a focus on moving “2s” to “3s” and significantly narrowed our curricular emphasis. We believe the focus propersly belongs on helping all kids progress as much as they can in a school year, regardless of whether they are high achievers, or members of several at-risk groups at the same time.
We think that it is understood that when a student spends a year (or semester, or some other period) of their life with a teacher, that the student will have grown as a result of the contact. Consequently, it seems it will be a relief to look at how far kids have come, and what standards they have mastered, as a result of the time together.