This blog welcomes readers who believe that No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top, and Every Student Succeeds Act are misguided educational reform policies that rely too heavily on standardized test scores that are too focused on punitive measures against local schools. This is also the diary of Jesse Turner's 2010/15 walks to Washington DC from Connecticut, and his occupation of the DOE in DC with United Opt Out, and his opposition to public school choice policies without equity.
Having read Valerie Strauss's blog about Donna McKenna the ESL teacher who dared the DOE to measure her value,
I began to read between the lines of Race To The Top Reformers. You'll find NCLB/RTTT reformers love to pit parents against teachers, and teachers against parents. They love using the words "accountability for children", "parents, teachers, and schools", but yet they never hold themselves accountable.
In 2001 we passed NCLB and we allocated $1.2 trillion federal dollars to fund this educational reform.
$1.2 trillion only accounts for about 10% of what we actually are spending, since local and state funding picks up the difference (an additional $9 trilion) . These reformers have had their way for more than ten years. They have spent most of that money. All this money with little to show for their reforms. They will point their finger in blame at others; never at themselves.
But, last time I checked they were the ones in charge.
They claimed that their new testing and standards would save our children in 2002.
They got their new standards.
They allocated where the money went.
They claimed in '02 that Reading First Schools would make every child a reader by grade 3.
They picked the scientifically based reading curriculums and assessments.
They supported those schools with extra resources, extra money, extra professional development,. They celebrated Reading First Schools everywhere in the media. They held these schools up a model for the teaching of reading.
But then after 6 years, independent research indicated that the 3rd grade students in Reading First Schools comprehended even less than the control group in the non-Reading First Schools, (2008/9 U.S. First Grade Impact Studies).
In 2004 the U.S. DOE's Golden Child of NCLB/RTTT Reform, New York City's very own Commissioner of Education Mr. Joe Klein said "Children have to be held accountable". He ended social promotion for third graders. Mayor Bloomberg has since extended this to fourth and fifth graders. To this day researchers advise against what New York is doing. New York City children and parents are still being left behind.
In 2008 reformers promised that Race To The Top would have schools compete against each other, and this competition would save our schools. In Summer 2011 Arnie Duncan made a statement that claimed "without NCLB waivers 85% of our public schools will not make Adequate Yearly Progress, (AYP)."
Again, who is still in charge? The reformers now find themselves banging their accountability drum for "Teachers all over our nation", and once again the U.S. DOE is promising that new assessments and new standards will save our schools.
While they cannot measure one ESL teacher named Donna McKenna; we certainly can measure their failure at education reform.
It's worth reading Valerie Strauss's blog about Donna: