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Thread: No Child Left Behind: 'Widespread Demoralization Of Teachers And Students

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    Otaku Meji Imaru may be famous one day Meji Imaru may be famous one day Meji Imaru's Avatar
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    No Child Left Behind: 'Widespread Demoralization Of Teachers And Students

    No Child Left Behind: 'Widespread Demorilzation Of Teachers And Students'

    I'm quite dismayed at the amount of support there seems to be out there for instituting merit pay for teachers whose students perform well on tests connected to the No Child Left Behind (as reported by Jamie Musick in a recent tribune article "Educators say 'yes' to merit pay tied to test scores.")Such a procedure misses what many educators have been saying and increasing the numbers of legislators and the public are now coming to realize. The assumptions of NCLB are fundamentally fallacious while it's means are deeply flawed.

    A recent local forum on NCLB held with U.S. Rep. Phil English brought out several important points. We need national standards but not the rigidly standardizing methods foisted on communities across the country by the federal government. Performance on standardized tests gives little indication of what students are actually learning and retaining and fails to account for different learning styles and different types of intelligence, leaving perhaps 60 to 70 percent out in the cold. Testing, in and of itself, does not lead to improvement and may in fact undermine it by creating undue anxiety among many students. The goals of the NCLB are patently unrealistic and virtually mandate failure for many districts; there is great consistency in meeting Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP) and much cheating from state to state. I would personally add my voice to the chorus of experts around the country who declare that knowledge students are being tested on begs the question of whether it is of any real use to them in this day and age. Moreover, aside from its negative effects on student learning, a moments thought should tell us that high test scores naturally favor those teachers lucky enough to be teaching in affluent districts where students tend to benefit from greater resources and extracurricular activities.

    For anyone paying close attention, the punitive regime NCLB has foisted on public education is leading to widespread demoralization of teachers and students. Those who want a taste of this should google a three-part PBS Jim Lehrer "News Hour" investigation of NCLB run a couple weeks ago. It cumulates in an interview of a prize-winning teacher. (profiled by the same program in 1999) who weeps as he talks about quitting the profession because the strictures of NCLB have completely undermined his capacity to teach.

    For those who worry about the quality of our teachers, there is much evidence showing that better salaries, improved working conditions and peer-monitoring programs as well as time for the teachers to reflect and collaborate are much more effective ways to ensure teaching excellence than placing them in grim competition with each other. That would add a whole dimension to the charge of "Teaching to The Test". And there's already ample evidence that the pressures of NCLB have led some teachers to resort to cheating.

    It would seem that our misguided mania for falsely 'objective' forms of measurement only lead to a further deterioration of the most important institution upon which our democracy is based: public education.

    -Professor David Miller-


    Ahem, wow. That's a lot of bullshit and I don't have my boots on. First of all, I'd like to state that it's not all bad. Despite having used 'and' at the beginning of a sentence he did in fact state one single truth.

    "Testing in itself, does not lead to improvement" Congratulations Prof. You've pinpointed what I've been saying to my teachers for several years.

    Anyway back to the negatives, after all, thats what we're here to debate. Alright, I'm sure you, like my teachers, fellow students and myself upon reading this are perhaps somewhat aggravated by his statement. Demorilzation is to give up, to basically become hopeless. When I read this I think that this is merely a professor who's spirit is breaking. Looking for a popular medium to throw out his grievance on. I mean "We need national standards but not the rigidly standardizing methods foisted on communities."? I'm pretty sure we all voted on this act and for god-sakes, an award winning teacher weeps as he speaks of quitting a profession? Bah! Bunkis! I cry out, what a pussy this man must be to just give up like that. He had gone through college to get that job and like that he's ready to give up because he's not the will to stick it out and push his way through the system? Travesty! With all that said it's still short of my words. So. Lets hear your opinions on this!


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    anti-semantics Pub Quiz Champion tsurara may be famous one day tsurara may be famous one day tsurara's Avatar
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    Re: No Child Left Behind: 'Widespread Demorilzation Of Teachers And Students

    .... As a teacher and one who has worked in mutiple school systems in the world. I think the professor is right and I need some heavy-duty boots to wade through YOUR "bunkis".

    "bunkis" is not a word, for the record.

    "Demoralize" does not me "to give up" or "lose hope" by the way. It means to deprive someone of spirit, courage, or motivation.

    "we all" did not vote for No Child Left Behind. The voting system does not work by complete consensus, nor do all agree that it's not something horribly broken and hopeless in and of itself.

    Perhaps if your own teachers were better paid and your school had enough money for proper textbooks, supplies and extracirricular activities: you would know those things. Instead, they're rushing to drill you on essentially useless exam trivia so that the Republican party won't take MORE of their incredibly limited funding from them.

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    Re: No Child Left Behind: 'Widespread Demorilzation Of Teachers And Students

    Quote Originally Posted by tsurara View Post
    .... As a teacher and one who has worked in mutiple school systems in the world. I think the professor is right and I need some heavy-duty boots to wade through YOUR "bunkis".

    "bunkis" is not a word, for the record.

    "Demoralize" does not me "to give up" or "lose hope" by the way. It means to deprive someone of spirit, courage, or motivation.

    "we all" did not vote for No Child Left Behind. The voting system does not work by complete consensus, nor do all agree that it's not something horribly broken and hopeless in and of itself.

    Perhaps if your own teachers were better paid and your school had enough money for proper textbooks, supplies and extracirricular activities: you would know those things. Instead, they're rushing to drill you on essentially useless exam trivia so that the Republican party won't take MORE of their incredibly limited funding from them.
    Regardless of if that word is real, it's definately known what I meant as it's universally used in American society and anyone who can read English and speak it would be able to have enough sense to know that. As for demoralize, sorry, I expressed it in an awkward fashion. I actually meant what you were saying and I realize that 'we all' didn't voter for it but, it was what the majority wanted and we as Americans should respect that.

    I think that as a teacher you shouldn't be judging other schools on one person's lack of proper speech. I go to a fine school. Our teacher, the one whom brought this to my attention had the privilege to make a difference as shown here; Great Teachers

    Mrs. Anderton; has by far shown the most, neigh, the maximum amount of care for her students and has been acknowledged by it. A teacher should be keeping on this topic rather then avoiding it by slandering a school for a meaningless scape-goat.


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    anti-semantics Pub Quiz Champion tsurara may be famous one day tsurara may be famous one day tsurara's Avatar
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    Re: No Child Left Behind: 'Widespread Demorilzation Of Teachers And Students

    I didn't slander the school. I know nothing about the school, save that, as an American school, it is likely under the restrictions of the "No Child Left Behind" program. I slandered your ability to post a coherent argument in correct academic English (which seems to have been the aim). You didn't present an argument at all, you merely danced around the issue by using vague insults, slang and "everyone thinks so, so it must be right" logic.

    That's not an argument. It's a rant.

    If you would like to deconstruct the professor's argument, or make one of your own: you need to demonstrate that you understand the issue central to the debate (ie. What IS the "No Child Left Behind" act and what implications does it have for educators and students?), discover and point out factual/logical fallacies/inaccuracies in the professor's argument (provide alternate reasoning, contradictory evidence, etc), and make a point of your own ("He's wrong" doesn't cut it unless you can offer an alternative).

    And I have never heard the word "bunkis" in my life. As an American and as an English teacher.

    I currently teach in Japan, a nation where "the test" has become the sole goal of each and every educational system in the nation. The children here are listless, unimaginative, and disillusioned by education in general. They feel that their entire futures are pinned on how well they can perform on a battery of endless tests. They're rushed to keep up so that enough material can be covered in time for the next exam. Crucial information is withheld from students because it isn't relevant to standardized testing. There is no sexual education, there is no practical foreign language speaking practice encouraged or required, and there's certainly no time to explore the students' own interests. The textbook is the center of a Japanese educator's world... and tests are the center of the entire universe. Failure of ONE crucial exam can potentailly ruin their lives and decimate their own future plans. Incidentally Japan has the highest rate of teenage stress-related illness and
    suicide in the developed world...

    The LAST thing America needs is to follow Japan's example. Unless, of course, we want to ensure our children have much more rigid, stressful and impersonal experiences with education.
    Last edited by tsurara; Sep 06, 2007 at 09:11 PM.

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    Re: No Child Left Behind: 'Widespread Demorilzation Of Teachers And Students

    i think that the no child left behind act is foolish, it just makes kids that worked hard feel cheated and the ones who dont get to pass go for free. I mean this is just making kids think that they dont have to try to get anywhere, and that things will just be handed to them whether or not they work for them or not. To me it is doing way more harm than good. The fact that standardized testing is the sole way of finding out whether a kid is good enough to be promoted to the next grade level is a good idea but it is also just testing knowledge and not social development. there are way more things to growing up than just learning 2+2=4, but thats what the standardized test is teaching. There should really be a way for things to be judged impartially so that the forces that be can see which children can pass on and which need just a little more time to develop, if anything to different types of school, one learning and the other decision making related testing worldly knowledge. A little to the side of the no child left behind topic but sometimes to develop or to gain that motivation to succeed some kids need to be left behind otherwise the future is going to pay for it with a generation of lazy bums(for lack of a better term). Think about it when you were a kid you know one of the reasons you tried to pass in school was so that your friends didnt make fun of you for being a grade behind them, when you should be with them, after all some of the best motivation for success is peer pressure.

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    Re: No Child Left Behind: 'Widespread Demorilzation Of Teachers And Students

    Quote Originally Posted by tsurara View Post
    Perhaps if your own teachers were better paid and your school had enough money for proper textbooks, supplies and extracirricular activities: you would know those things. Instead, they're rushing to drill you on essentially useless exam trivia so that the Republican party won't take MORE of their incredibly limited funding from them.
    Now there's an idea, I agree wit Tsurara on this. I don' feel that the standardised tests r doin' anythin' for students, or teachers, except causin' unnecessary aggravation and stress. When my 8 year old niece comes home cryin', 'cause she under alotta stress ta pass a test, somethin' is wrong. Kids in school r under more stress now than when I was goin' ta school. The problem isn' the students, nor is it necessarily the teachers; it's the whole d@mned system. Congress needs ta get off their collective @$$es and try ta figure out a way, that'll work, ta fix this. Fosterin' competition between teachers isn' goin' ta do anythin' except 'cause alotta kids and teachers ta develop strokes or other stress related diseases. School should b a stress free environment, where learnin' is fostered, not competition.

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    Re: No Child Left Behind: 'Widespread Demorilzation Of Teachers And Students

    Quote Originally Posted by tsurara View Post
    .... As a teacher and one who has worked in mutiple school systems in the world. I think the professor is right and I need some heavy-duty boots to wade through YOUR "bunkis".

    "bunkis" is not a word, for the record.

    "Demoralize" does not me "to give up" or "lose hope" by the way. It means to deprive someone of spirit, courage, or motivation.

    "we all" did not vote for No Child Left Behind. The voting system does not work by complete consensus, nor do all agree that it's not something horribly broken and hopeless in and of itself.

    Perhaps if your own teachers were better paid and your school had enough money for proper textbooks, supplies and extracirricular activities: you would know those things. Instead, they're rushing to drill you on essentially useless exam trivia so that the Republican party won't take MORE of their incredibly limited funding from them.
    **** yeah! Wow, I don’t think you could have said it better. I completely agree. I mean, if the only way teachers are going to be able to show themselves as good teachers is based on testing, then all there going to do is teach the kids to pass the tests. That’s not real teaching, and no one can say what definitely needs to be learned, so no one can know what really should be tested.

    All that’s going to happen because of this program is that kids will pass the tests, knowing that information, but have no real knowledge of anything else. They will have gaps in there understanding of things, and miss out on a whole world of information outside of what the government says should be known. That just doesn’t sound or feel right to me.

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    Re: No Child Left Behind: 'Widespread Demorilzation Of Teachers And Students

    Quote Originally Posted by tsurara View Post
    The LAST thing America needs is to follow Japan's example. Unless, of course, we want to ensure our children have much more rigid, stressful and impersonal experiences with education.
    Why do you assume it has anything to do with following Japans example? Because you are living in it?

    As a parent of school children that supports the standardized testing and accountability found in this act and having also spoken with others who support it I have never once heard them say "lets be like Japan." No they say "lets return to the basics and require our children actually learn." They, and I, want a return to past USA standards. Ones that require schools actually pass on knowledge and teach the basics before worrying whether or not they have the "correct" socioecological view as determined by the Teachers Union.

    You want some facts? At the time the public school system was instituted in the US one of the reasons given was so every person in the US would be literate. By 1969 they had nearly succeeded. So explain why, if the system we have now is so much better, that has changed so drastically? Functional illiteracy numbers in the US at this time are truly scary. Changes to the system that occurred after '69 that were more concerned with the students "feelings" and things like "new math" have done our students no favors.

    If you want to see how bad the current public school system is at teaching you don't have to look any further then the Universities. My father worked at a local State College and my husband does as well. Each year the number of remedial classes they have to add just to get their students up to beginning levels increases. These are students that have passed with a high school diploma and are supposed to be competent in things like basic math and literature. Yet the College tests them and discovers that they have to teach them basic math etc. (some can't even do 5th grade math) that they are supposed to know. If standardized testing is so horrible then explain to me how them being passed on without being required to do these basics shows that the schools aren't failing?

    I have every respect for teachers. I have no respect for people who feel entitled to benefits without results. I went through the school system. Past 5th grade I learned nearly nothing until I arrived at college. As far as I am concerned "No Child Left Behind" protocols are long over due and I have no pity for teachers complaining that they do not have the time to teach more then the basics. If their students can't pass the basics they should not be moving on to other subjects anyway. School is there to teach, not to socialize and experiment. Teach the basics and if you can't then we will go to someone who can.

    It used to be that when a student in the US graduated from school at 16 they were considered competent enough to teach. Now far to many of them are not even competent enough to write a letter or balance a check book. Teach the basics and pass the tests or step out and let someone else do it.

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