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NCLB . . . Blah, Blah, Blah. . . Translated For Parents

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Don't worry about learning this foreign language, the Schoolish one, I've got you covered. Today I'll explain the basics of . . . WAIT, don't fall asleep . . . the NCLB waivers, and how NCLB affects your family.

Still with me? Keep reading -- it's about your kids. You'll want to know this.

Here we go.

Schoolish: Last week, ten states got NCLB* (No Child Left Behind) waivers -- Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

Translation: Ten states jumped through a lot of paperwork hoops. Now, kids in these states don’t have to be 100% proficient in math and reading by 2014. 

(And, linking federal money to student test performance doesn't work and shouldn't happen for a variety of reasons, one being the tests aren't even good tests.)

. . .

Schoolish: The ten states that got waivers agreed to the following Department of Education reforms: implement college- and career-standards, set new targets for improving achievement among all students, create evaluation systems for principals & teachers which include standardized test scores, reward top-performing schools, and intervene in bottom performing schools.

Translation: Ten states got waivers and got a list of new things to do instead of the 100% proficiency. 

, , , 

Schoolish: According to the Department of Education, the NCLB waivers give states flexibility.

Translation: A waiver gives states different requirements -- but still requires standardized testing and reporting. See how flexibile? ? ?

. . .

The Bottom Line: Your kids will still spend countless (wasted) hours preparing and taking the state tests. Nothing has changed. NCLB waivers don’t fix the high-stakes testing. In fact, the new requirements might pressure low performing schools even more than before.

Plus, I think this is a congressional issue. Shouldn't the United States Congress deal with laws, not the Department of Education? 

What's your experience with NCLB and testing?

What's your take on NCLB waivers?

Learn more about standardized testing on “Testing our Schools” from PBS’ Frontline

*NCLB – “No Child Left Behind” Act passed by President George W. Bush in 2001 requiring all students score proficient on math and reading scores by 2014. Read more about NCLB on Education Week.

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