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January 10, 2004

No Child Left Behind? More Like "No Child's Behind Left"

CBS News is running a series on Bush's domestic policy. The so-called "Texas Miracle" was the underpinning for Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program, which was covered on "60 Minutes II." Steve Gilliard points out what many of us have known for years -- that "the program was filled with deception and fraudulent numbers designed to make Bush and his political allies look good. Instead of success, you had poor, underprivledged, immigrant kids forced out of the system to make the numbers improve."

A long-time friend of mine sent this message to me in e-mail yesterday. Her autistic son is a victim of Bush's wonderful program. She gave me permission to reprint her letter in its entirety on my blog. It speaks for itself.


A President Should be Able to Speak Proper English. BOOT HIM NOW!!!!

Dear Friend:

Help the Democratic Party win in 2004 by visiting my personal webpage on Democrats.org:

http://www.democrats.org/epatriots/give.html?sourcecode=E001134

The Democratic Party and Special Needs kids need your help -- now.

George W. Bush is using the real patriotism of the American people to cloak and push a special-interest agenda that Americans do not support. No Child Left Behind? More like No Child's Behind Left.......

Because of NCLB, my 11 year old autistic son is forced to take the PSSA state testing. He is over a year behind grade level in reading, and taking these tests are pure TORTURE for him, much less DEGRADING, because there is no way he will pass.

Even more, our state gives out funding based on school performance, and all children are FORCED to take the PSSA testing. My son's performance on these tests inevitably brings the school score down, so we get less money from the state than other schools in richer areas. Combine that with NCLB....and you can totally understand why public education is going downhill.

Because of people who have no real appreciation for education, our schools don't get the funding for special ed they so desperately need. We are a rural district, we don't have a tax base save the residents, we can't afford the special education teachers that are needed more and more each year. The closest private school that could attend to his needs is an hour and a half away.

My son is basically being spit on by George Bush and his cronies. It totally disgusts me - this man was lucky enough to be born with a family who could afford a wonderful college like Yale, and he doesn't have any health or special education issues (well, not that we know about, LOL) - yet he pissed his education down the toilet and got lousy grades. My son will be lucky if he can ever GO to any college - but he has a chance if he gets the education he needs PRIOR to college. Without the special education resources being available to the school, however, he does not stand much of a chance. And the result will be that he will live off of all of you taxpayers, and not be able to be a contributing member of society. GEE, THANKS GEORGE..... There's nothing more patriotic than joining the fight to kick George W. Bush out of the White House in 2004. Scumbag.

To do my part, I've joined ePatriots, the Democratic Party's grassroots fundraising effort. I'm raising as much money from friends as I can to help the Party with its organizing, message, and get-out-the-vote efforts.

But we need your help. Bush will have $250 million in the bank for his re-election effort. Please give as much as you can by clicking on the secure link below. I'll even get credit for raising it if you give! Thanks!!!

And go check out www.deanforamerica.com!

To help, go to:

http://www.democrats.org/epatriots/give.html?sourcecode=E001134

Thank you,

Lynn Thomas


Posted on January 10, 2004 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

Comments

Just about everything in that Houston education miracle was phony. Even the low crime stats for the school campuses have been shown to deliberately understate serious crime by 75% in violation of state and federal laws.

The city of Hartford, CT also found out the hard way about the school security stats. They hired the chief of Houston Public Schools security for police chief, and he was given the boot pretty quickly, as the crime rate was up, residents didn't trust the police, and the street officers had little or no respect for him and his style of management.

I'm also involved in some school betterment projects and No Child Left Behind has a lot of problems, and causes problems.

Posted by: at Jan 11, 2004 1:12:27 AM

I am also a teacher. I have talked to SO many teachers, administrators, and what it does is tie the hands of the teachers even more. My son scored a 50% on one and a 30% on another PSSA prep test, and they want to count it toward his grade because they "spent a lot of class time on it". BS. This is bogus. Actually, since the work was a year and a half over his head, 50% is pretty good, IMO....

The richest districts in our area are even failing NCLB. These are the schools where the majority of the kids get over 1200s in their SATs and 90% or more go on to college. One of the things about the NCLB is that 95% of the students in a given school must take the testing. If you have 6% of your students overall who are special ed kids who CAN'T take the test, you're screwed right off the bat. And in PA, parents used to be able to opt their children out, now you can't do that. And the adapted test is not for your learning disabled child, but for the cognitively disabled child; NCLB says that only the "most significant cognitive disabilities" are to be allowed to do alternate testing. Well, my son is a year and a half behind in reading and language due to his autism. But that's not a "significant cognitive disability"!!!

Here is one of the examples the state gives from their brochure (for determining whether they can take the adapted test): "Pedro is an eighth grade student. He has has a great deal of difficulty learning hjow to read; he presently reads on a fourth grade level. He receives specialized reading instruction in the resource room from the special education teacher. Pedro also has difficulty in math, most notably on word problems. He receives specialized instructional support for this need as well." Their response: He cannot take the adapted test because he participates fully in the general education curriculum. WTF sense does that make?????????????????? The kid can't even speak English and they're forcing him to take a test four years above his reading level IN ENGLISH???

While you would think that making schools educate the children would be a result of NCLB, it isn't. Even tho NCLB has "allowed" the states to form their own means of alternate testing, it truthfully needs to REQUIRE them to do it. The states fund the schools BACKWARDS - they give money to schools based on how well your school scores on the testing. So if your scores suck, so does the amount of money you get. So then the schools can't get the additional special ed teachers, etc. that they need. Of course, it doesn't help that PA is 49th out of 50 states in funding their schools.

Another fallacy of NCLB is that "school choice" thang. If you think you can "choose" what school you want your kid to go to (that is, if your school fails NCLB), you're mistaken. You can only choose what school IN YOUR DISTRICT he/she can attend! LOL our district only one elementary school, we're fucked......


Posted by: Lynn at Jan 13, 2004 9:32:46 AM

>Of course, it doesn't help that PA is 49th out of 50 states
>in funding their schools.

At the end of the day, it seems to me that the problem is that there is insufficient funding (no revelation there). Instead of blaming the federal government, why aren't you lobbying your state government to do more? The funding deficiencies are clearly something that can be alleviated from many different areas. It seems to me that the problems with your state government have always been there. The federal policies and NCLB merely serve to uncover them.

I have sympathy for your plight, but do you really feel as though your child is getting the education that he needs from being in the general education curriculum? Have you considered moving to another school district? If they simply don't have the resources to properly educate your child, they don't. Period. That is a fact. While you could try to influence change, that takes time. Before I get flamed, I just want to point out that there are a lot of families that uproot themselves and their children to move to good school districts. My mom commuted 45min-3hr each way (going into NYC) so I could go to a pretty good public school. There are ways to try and make it through the system...

Posted by: Jimmy at Jan 29, 2004 11:38:53 AM

(a recently retired counselor - educational examiner)
Maybe we should start here!
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
PUBLIC EDUCATION IN AMERICA

It shall be the function of public education in the United States to provide a free and appropriate education for all students. This shall include basic training in English, math, science, and social studies to include skills necessary to allow for additional higher educational opportunities or training for specialized occupations.

It should not be the function of public education to train all students for college entrance or technical occupations. Individual educational programs must be provided to recognize and nurture the aspirations, abilities, interests, and desires of students. Additional coursework must be provided in areas such as art, music, lifetime sports, business, manual trades, home economics, and other areas to enable the individual to both explore areas of interest and to expand individually in these areas.

The present system brought about by the idealistic sounding “No Child Left Behind” has actually resulted in a weakening of sound educational practices.
This act has resulted in testing of students with often inappropriate instruments for the results desired. For example, current practice of testing selected grade levels actually tests the teacher. The results of these tests are used to compare students’ achievement to the previous grade tested. The results do little to address the individual student’s weakness and are not used to improve deficiencies in the various subjects. In short, the present system fails to meet the student’s needs and does little to improve instruction relative to his/her needs.

Testing should be appropriate for the individual student and should be used to increase individual knowledge and strengthen weakness in the fundamental understanding of the subject

Posted by: Charles Weidman at Mar 23, 2005 1:37:44 PM