Good links

I found this blog from a friend of a friend, and I really enjoy reading it. She’s got a great writing style and writes about interesting things. She’s currently writing about school stuff and how Christians might think about no child left behind and public education. I really like what she’s said; read for yourself here and here.

We’ve chosen public school for our two kids, and it’s been a great experience. Elaine and I each get in the classrooms, and we’ve gotten to know a lot of the staff and several parents. Out of the 5 teachers my two older kids have had in the last two years, all five were Christians, two from our own church, and two others from other Friends churches in the area. I hope my kids are salt and light at school (and have seen ways they have been!)

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2 thoughts on “Good links

  1. What could she say better than the Onion article quoting our president, “I believe in ‘No Child Left Behind’, except for Timmy Simmons of Akron Ohio” (who allegedly hurled on the President during a school visit).As a public school teacher in special education, I can vouch for the fact that NCLB hurts students with disabilities. As a Christian, I can vouch for the fact that doing things that harm the powerless is NOT SUCH A BRIGHT IDEA.

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  2. Interesting discussion. I would be interested in hearing how NCLB has harmed the special education students that Jimmy works with. From what I understand of the ACT, the intent of the NCLB is to hold school districts accountable for the education of the minorities within their schools, including special ed. That “cause” is not anti-Christian, or immoral as I see it; however, maybe some of the policies and practices need to be changed, but not the underlining philosophy that all students should be learning to the best of their abilities. Now I do have to agree that 100%meeting by… when… 2010? Sounds a little, impossible. In addition, the way that students with special needs are dismissed from the SE once they reach a certain level of competency… THAT area of education needs a little work, but that problem was pre-existing.For the most part, the ‘essay’ in the blog-link you provided was too simplistic for such a large problem as public education. Personally, I have found testing and NCLB it to be beneficial for Newberg Public Schools. Math testing at the HS level revealed such glaring deficiencies that a TOSA (teacher on special assignment) was appointed simply to coordinate the curriculum, conduct in-service meetings, etc… the cost to the district was minimal ($30,000 maybe) but she was able to have teachers affect student scores almost 40%! That, all because the district put the energy and funding in the right place. There are wonderful teachers out there, as evidenced by the scores; they just needed the administrative support structure to work together. Notice, that the TOSA wasn’t assigned to change the SES make-up of the school, or teach parents how to be better parents, or solve the personal issues of the students involved: she worked on the curriculum and teaching methods. Who do you think benefited the most? The students who where not performing up to level.Another point: I have looked at the data that comes back from NCLB, and if you really want to understand it, talk to Don Staples… he will give you are mathematical interpretation of the data, and a realistic view of the Act. However, this is what I have learned. When schools, like my kid’s elm. School, really try to target the kids who need to “meet” out of the “doesn’t meet” category, it is usually the kids that rest in the 25%-50% of learners/performers. Students who are at 25% and below usually qualify for state services, but the low performers, who were not low enough to qualify, usually fell through the cracks. Well, in order to get the scores up, the teachers had to focus on their learning. So, what you got were students in the 50% and lower got special treatment… and 100% of the students passed the tests… 100%! That would not have happened with out the data provided by state testing . I know that teachers get upset by the stress and focus on the testing and school report cards… but the truth is, if a school isn’t performing, it isn’t a teacher issue; it is a district issue. It is not a student or parent or community issue; it is a district issue. Now, there maybe flaws in the current ACT… but the concept is not intended to harm the poorer school districts… it is there to improve schools. There is more grace in the plan than the blog writer admitted. I challenge you to go to the NCLB website in our state and look over the requirements. You will find they are not evil incarnate. (Nor are they non-Christian.)-Polly

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