Tag Archives: No Child Left Behind

Back to School for Billionaires

This Newsweek article explores the various methods employed by our nation’s concerned billionaires in an effort to reform the US education system. In their efforts to do good they’ve found that it’s not as simple as it seems.

“The business titans entered the education arena convinced that America’s schools would benefit greatly from the tools of the boardroom. They sought to boost incentives for improving performance, deploy new technologies, and back innovators willing to shatter old orthodoxies.

They pressed to close schools that were failing, and sought to launch new, smaller ones. They sent principals to boot camp. Battling the long-term worry that the best and brightest passed up the classroom for more lucrative professions, they opened their checkbooks to boost teacher pay.

It was an impressive amount of industry. And in some places, it has worked out—but with unanticipated complications.”

With so much success in the business world it would make sense to run schools in a business-like manner, but what we’re all realizing is that education reform is much more complicated.

“…The Walton Family Foundation hoped that its $8 million investment in Milwaukee charters would produce strong schools and a competitive environment to raise the bar across all the city’s schools. But the charters failed to outperform traditional schools. Reading scores were mostly flat over the past five years citywide. In math, elementary- and middle-school gains were stronger than in the rest of Wisconsin, but high-school proficiency dropped 2 points.

This causes pause to the cause. Should education reform be about school or teacher reform, or do we need to be looking at broader issues in society?

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Billionaires Graded for Their Efforts:  Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Started with $400 million in Austin, Texas, in 1999 to improve education for the urban poor through charters, school leadership programs, and data systems that track student performance. Received the best grade: B-

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Parents spell out detailed school reform blueprint

I found this article on The Washington Post. It’s an interesting new twist to the public education reform debate. In it, a national grassroots organization called Parents Across America outlines its own blueprint for the rewriting of No Child Left Behind.

Congress has been considering how to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act. For those who’ve heard of it, but may not know what it is, a little history. NCLB was originally proposed by the administration of George W. Bush immediately after he took office. The bill, shepherded through the Senate by co-author Senator Ted Kennedy, received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.

NCLB supports standards-based education reform, which is based on the belief that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education. The Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools. The general consensus today is the NCLB is broken and must be revisited.

Parents Across America believe, “[NCLB] has dramatically harmed our local schools with its overemphasis on high-stakes testing, narrowing of the curriculum, and punitive unfunded mandates that have been especially harmful to schools with high-needs student populations. What it has not done is improve achievement.” They’re against:

· Policies that use standardized test scores as the most important accountability measure for schools, teachers or students, and/or expand the use of standardized testing in our schools.

· Competition for federal funds; a quality education is not a race but a right.

· “Parent trigger” laws, vouchers, charter takeovers or other forms of school privatization that take resources from the schools attended by most students and put them into private hands, with less oversight.

· Limiting federally-mandated school improvement models to a narrow set of strategies, including charter schools and privatization, which are favored by corporate reformers but which have had little verified success.

Find this article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/parents-spell-out-detailed-school-reform-blueprint/2011/04/22/AFO7XzOE_blog.html

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