Jeff L. Thigpen Register of Deeds

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Why No Child Left Behind needs a serious MEND!

If a Guilford County school does not meet AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress in 10 categories) through No Child Left Behind, then the Guilford County School system has to pay the transportation costs for ANY child ( in that school) that wants to attend another school . So, let me get this straight, if a school makes AYP in 9 of the 10 areas and one subgroup, say students with disabilities does not make AYP, then every kid in the school 10/10 subgroups are eligible to leave, go wherever they want within the school system, and taxpayers/school system pays the bill! Actually, local taxpayers foot the bill because we're the ones sucking up this expense.

In terms of how NCLB relates to the ABC's in NC, a school could be a SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE and still be labeled a failing school under NCLB. No Child Left Behind is becoming the biggest unfunded mandate in the history of this country. It might even work if it were funded properly, but we'll never know because I doubt it will ever receive the monies necessary for real implementation.

I'd much rather see the kid who failed have the opportunity to leave or get some kind of specialized instruction to make academic progress without free taxi service for all the Guilford County School students in that low performing school to bail...

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  • I'm a teacher in the school system and I believe there are many problems with NCLB. I believe in standards and accountability, but the whole notion of success in education is too caught up in testing cycles. I appreciate your comments.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:34 PM  

  • Just a question, how much more money do you think it is going to take? We sink money into our schools year, after year, after year and still our children are not getting any smarter. If you think money is the answer, then please explain to me why the Washington DC school system is not ranked first since they spend the most per pupil. If money is the answer how come it is not working for one of the highest funded school systems?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:00 AM  

  • Funny you made the point about money. I don't really think JUST money is the answer. But it's a little disingenuous for legislators to mandate a legislative policy and not fund it properly. That was my point.

    There are real problems with the DC School System such as the lack of teacher certifications and the impact NCLB will have on it with out the certifications. One must also realize the state of the DC School system funding system 8 years ago. Funding was unequal and politicized even more than now.

    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 2:41 PM  

  • I've always wondered why NCLB mandates every child having the ability to leave a "failing" school. It seems to me it's the ones that are struggling the most to succeed that could use a change in school environment the most.

    By Anonymous Mike, at 3:28 PM  

  • As a former high school teacher (five years), and a proponent BOTH of increased salaries for teachers and higher standards for teachers and students, and a conservative, I have watched as my children have gone through the system here, and it has served them well overall. Nevertheless, NCLB has come more and more to radically impact the nature of how students are taught, and how teachers are forced by central office to do their jobs - all centered around the year end tests. I don't know much about the issue you raised specifically, and I think "at heart" NCLB is well intended, but the money trail has made the system, well, more centered around doing what HAS to be done to get the federal dollars and brag about how we're doing compared to others. Teachers are losing freedom to be teachers. Students are being forced in various ways to "teach the tests. Students who are not ready are being pushed up to take AP classes even though they are really prepared to take AP material. CP classes here are really "general" and Honors is really CP. It's a name game, built around what makes the county look good and what makes us score well on these basic skills tests.

    By Anonymous Joel Gillespie, at 5:10 PM  

  • I agree Mike.

    That's a good point Joel related to the money flow driving the impact on the ground level. Most of the money for NCLB is centering around testing accountability from what I know. Local monies going to education in many cases are "gap-fillers" where the state/federal dollars have come up way short like transportation costs or unfunded mandates like ESOL and Special Needs kids. They are mandates are agree with in principal, but the funding streams are screwed up.

    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 6:38 AM  

  • I may be mistaken, but I believe that the kids at the failing school are given a choice of a couple of schools that they can transfer to with transportation provided, not ANY school.

    If it were ANY school, then the parents of kids in the High Point Choice plan could encourage their kids to purposely fail the EOGs (at least those in the non-gateway grades) forcing the school into AYP failure and allowing the kids to attend the school of their choice (there's Ghandiesque act of civil disobedience for you!).

    By Anonymous jwg, at 1:29 PM  

  • Well, please let the folks with the Guilford County Schools know because they may be under the wrong assumption. Of course, I could have mis-heard them in their discussions last week.

    Do you know the parameters around the specific schools designated as opt-out schools? Is there a geographic or academic profile for them if you are correct?

    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 7:35 AM  

  • See: "Can parents choose any school in the district when transferring their children from a Title I School Improvement school?

    No. School districts determine which schools comprise the schools of choice. A district must take into account the parents' preferences among the choices offered. The federal law states that districts must provide parents with "reasonable" options, which is generally interpreted to mean at least two choices within the district, if two are available. A school district may not use lack of capacity (overcrowding) to deny students the option to transfer."

    Also see "More students take Ferndale exit
    " by Doug Clark.

    By Anonymous jwg, at 8:17 PM  

  • Had Title I status not been removed from the HP High Schools, the students would have (probably) been free to transfer to another school.

    By Anonymous jwg, at 8:25 AM  

  • I have been a public educator for the past 7 years. I am thankful to say that this is my final year. I believe I can better serve my students by becoming more active at the school board level; this will allow me to find out what is really going on and take this information back to the communities. What I simply fail to understand is, am I the only one who sees that there is little to no correlation to the increase in standardized testing and actual student learning? Standardized testing absolutely do not account for what a child knows. I personally have had several students passed the EOCs, but were unable to read and write at their grade level. I currently have juniors at a school in Guilford County who are unable to write a standard five paragraph essay. It is clear to me that"No child is being left behind," rather many, many children are being left behind and many of them are African Americans and other poor minority groups.

    By Blogger Scorpeoblak, at 11:51 AM  

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