I ran across two stories of people standing up to the disaster-in-the-making called No Child Left Behind. Hopefully there will be more.
The first is the state of Maine. The state legislature is considering a resolution to tell Bush and Congress to either exempt the state from NCLB or “fully fund the high cost for states to comply with it”. What a concept – Congress actually paying for the laws they pass! To me the more important part of the story is where the resolution says that Maine already has their own standards and that they “don’t need more imposed on us by Washington”. While I don’t totally agree with the concept (we really need the basic definition of a national curriculum), we’re supposed to have local control of education in this country, aren’t we?
The second example (NY Times – free registration required) doesn’t directly involve NCLB but goes right to the kind of thinking that comes with it. A Florida kindergarten teacher is retiring rather than face the changes being forced on the curriculum due to standardized testing. By all accounts Ms. MacLeish is an outstanding educator to the point of recently being named Teacher of the Year for her system.
In her fairwell message to the community MacLeish noted that “Kindergarten teachers throughout the state have replaced valued learning centers (home center, art center, blocks, dramatic play) with paper and pencil tasks, dittos, coloring sheets, scripted lessons, workbook pages”. The NY Times article says that “the breaking point for Ms. MacLeish was an article in the paper praising a kindergarten teacher who had eliminated her play centers and was doing reading drills, all part of a push to help her school get a higher grade on the annual state report card”.
Standardized tests for kindergarten students?? Reading drills?? What the hell are we doing to childhood?