The No Child Left Behind law has, according to many teachers and administrators I’ve talked to, directly impacted the type of education in public schools. For example, one school I’m familiar with used to have a staff person who coordinated a series of arts residencies, assemblies, and a creative, innovative program that encouraged kids to explore different, unfamiliar topics. This staff person now works ONLY on coordinating testing. No more arts residencies. Many many fewer arts related assemblies. No more creative, innovative exploration outside of the traditional classroom structure.
I was pleased to see that Minnesota is applying for a waiver for NCLB. At first I was REALLY excited — no more NCLB! Well, it’s not that great. It’s only because Congress can’t agree on reform of the law. Many schools run the risk of penalties or closure — many GOOD schools are in danger because of this crazy law that mandates test, test, test. Maybe these waivers will highlight some other, more effective tools for accountability so NCLB can finally go away!
I’d love to see the whole darn thing dismantled and let schools be more creative. Teachers spend hours teaching kids to succeed on tests. Those hours could much better be used teaching kids to think. Can’t remember the last test I took in my daily life…..