Fine-Tuning U.S. Education Policy

The focus of education is no longer the individual child; it is the test ["What Arne Duncan Thinks of No Child Left Behind"].

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The focus of education is no longer the individual child; it is the test ["What Arne Duncan Thinks of No Child Left Behind," usnews.com]. A test will measure what that student is willing to produce on that particular day. If he or she comes to school on test day (or any day) hungry or tired from lack of sleep, then just how valid is the test data? Furthermore, many young parents in low socioeconomic situations do not stress the importance of education to their children at home. Some parents are still pursuing their own agendas—and parenting is not their top priority! The Bush administration has erroneously tried to make schools into surrogate parents by placing many responsibilities on school districts that should belong within a family structure. High school students need more career education classes. They need a degree plan that truly leads them to their career choice! It's not just about being successful in college; it's about being successful in life.

Comment by Dianne Hearn of TX

Reforming needs to start at the level of how school leaders engage in professional dialogue with teachers. Instead of meaningless evaluations done at the end of a school year there need to be ongoing discussions centered upon a common understanding and definition of what good teaching looks like.

Comment by Cody Claver of ID

Schools have worked very hard to meet the mandates of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), including increasing student achievement on state tests and increasing the number of teachers meeting the teacher quality standards. To discard the strides made by students and teachers under NCLB would be an injustice. Secretary Duncan's conversations with the public (and schools) should identify what specifically in NCLB needs to be altered, but should let the areas of accomplishment continue and grow. As an educator, I think that there should be adjustments to NCLB, but to throw out the entire law and to start over with yet another version of school reform would be a waste of students' time.

Comment by L. Currier of TX

This is very encouraging to have someone [Arne Duncan] at the top level recognize librarians and guidance counselors. School librarians have master's degrees to start, are often more highly qualified than teachers, and are a major part of school reforms. School librarians make the curriculum and instruction better and provide collaborative improvements. Students who have great school libraries have improved learning. We should have put more of our funds into successful library programs rather than in extra tests that don't improve instruction.

Comment by Diane Chen of TN

Schools have improved tremendously with NCLB. I have been in education long enough to know that every child was not always considered a potential graduate. But now they are. This is a huge step forward and we cannot go back to what it was before. Of course, we should never "dumb down" our curriculum or expectations, there are students who should go much further, and I believe this is where we are lacking. I hope the new secretary [Arne Duncan] will listen to teachers everywhere and come back to us with a good, sensible plan that will improve our schools even more. He certainly has the background to know what works—if the politics of it all don't stand in the way.

Comment by M. Sprinkles of TX

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