Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Another DOE 'change' to NCLB

From the Department of Education (DOE):
    Under the new policy, a state may use data from the previous one or two years to average the participation rate data for a school and/or subgroup, as needed. If this two- or three-year average meets or exceeds 95 percent, the school will still meet the AYP requirement. Thus, schools that are performing well in this category may not be identified as "in need of improvement" because of a one- or two-year dip in their participation rates. The new policy also makes allowances for those rare circumstances when a student cannot take the assessment during the entire testing window, including make-up dates, due to a significant medical emergency, such as a car accident. Although students remain enrolled in the school during this period, schools do not have to include these students when calculating their participation rates.
These terms still seem harsh and punitive. If a school manages a 92% participation rate one year, then it must achieve a 98% rate the next, to stay at a 95% average.

I'm getting tired of these DOE changes that cut such a fine line in terms of improvement. This is like saying: yes, I really did take a bath when I only dipped my toe into the water, but shhh, please don't point it out.

Along those lines, I fear that now our fearless leader could campaign that he supervised four changes to NCLB, thus giving him the right to call himself 'flexible' or maybe even 'compassionate'.

Joining him, for a another prime example of a disconnect, is our fearless leader's wife on NCLB:
    First lady Laura Bush, also speaking in Orlando, urged school board members to support the law. She said it is based on the premise that "all children must have access to high-quality schools regardless of their skin color, their disability or their ZIP code."
I don't understand the connection between NCLB and 'high-quality' schools when there isn't enough money to run schools properly, and schools need to spend even more money on testing due to NCLB.

Center for American Progress posts a few talking points for education.