Friday, August 26, 2011

Another NCLB Failure

This article has brought to my attention yet another way the NCLB is counter-productive in getting students proficient: It has forced schools to nearly eliminate science at the elementary school levels.

Since science, as a subject isn't tested until later, the schools, especially those in danger of failing the unreasonable standards set by NCLB, change their curriculums to focus on the immediate threat. At the elementary level, this has tended to be English.
More than eight hours of instructional time are devoted each week to teaching “English Language Arts” (“ELA” is a story in and of itself) and over five hours per week to math. By comparison, science is taught for less than three hours.
In other words, kids are getting short changed in science. They lose their base and by the time emphasis picks up, it's too late. They're uninterested and under prepared.


Chet Twarog said...

But why? Why are the children doing so poorly in ELA? Why are the standards I had to meet in each grade level in the 1950's - 1960's not improved? Is it due to social media, computer gaming, cable tv, ethnic groups, social/economic disparity, the recession/depression? Parental guidance?
Why are the elementary school standards not including all subject areas meeting the grade level requirements before promoted to the next grade lvl? Students not being kept back for failing subject areas - social promotion? It conveys "why shld I care, I'll be promoted/passed anyways?"

Jon Voisey said...

Good question. It's one I'm interested in as well. I obviously am a new teacher so I haven't seen how standards have evolved. I've looked and it's actually quite difficult to find that information, but I very much want to know.
In regards to your second question, students seem to be shuffled along because schools are afraid to fail students. If they do, that looks like the school isn't doing well, so schools pressure teachers to pass students that don't deserve it. Teachers very frequently have to go through a ton of hoopla to fail a student and as a teacher, there's too much other crap to deal with already. Yet again, it's 100% on the teacher, 0% on the students themselves or parents. This is the biggest issue I have with our educational system today.