The Well-Read Wife


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I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
February 16, 2008
Bush is a D*ck and an A**hole
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: President Bush is Cutting Funding from RIF

President George Bush's No Child Left Behind Act and rhetoric irritates me to the point of cursing out loud at work. Yell President Bush, his peers, his cronies, his henchmen, and all those who support him are failing America's children severely. I don't know if they are purposefully trying to create a gaping class/education/health divide in this country or not, but they are doing a very good job of keeping a great deal of people back. I know this is my U.S. education indoctrination speaking, but I thought this country was about allowing every one the opportunity to make it. I thought this was the country where a poor boy who grew up in a log cabin could grow up and become one of the most influential presidents of the United States. I'm not saying that the government should handhold every one and usher them step by step to greatness, but come the fuck on!!! At least make the playing ground level. It's like those athletes who are being stripped of medals and respect because they are using steroids. (I can't believe I just made that comparision.)

RIF Action Alert - Posted February 5, 2008


FROM CAROL H. RASCO, President and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental


The President’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2009 eliminates the Inexpensive Book Distribution Program, which is the RIF Book Distribution Program. Unless Congress reinstates funding for this program, RIF would be unable to distribute 16 million books annually to the nation’s youngest and most at-risk children.



NCLB (No Child Left Behind) rests on false assumptions—e.g., test scores equal educational quality, and sanctions based on low test scores drive school improvement. As a result, it offers false remedies that are not working. Since NCLB was signed, reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have stagnated, and the rate of improvement in math has slowed. The neediest children in our nation continue to receive an unequal and inadequate education. 


  • State tests are extremely weak measures of high-quality standards. NCLB’s obsessive focus on raising test scores causes an increased emphasis on exam preparation. “Teaching to the test” narrows the curriculum, particularly in low-scoring schools, and forces teachers and students to concentrate on memorizing isolated facts and practicing rote skills, ignoring higher order thinking. Arts, foreign languages, social studies, physical education and recess have been squeezed from the curriculum, especially in schools with high numbers of minority and low-income students. In the past six years, these effects have been documented in dozens of reports by reputable, independent researchers. When fewer students are prepared to be successful citizens, rising test scores do not mean academic improvement. 


  •  Thirty percent of the nation’s schools failed to make "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) in 2005-06. Diverse schools are more likely to 'fail' simply because they serve children from more demographic groups, all of which must meet NCLB’s mandates simultaneously. Independent researchers agree that nearly all schools will eventually be labeled "in need of improvement" (INOI) and sanctioned under NCLB. This will happen because of the way AYP statistics are calculated, not because all schools are actually in need of major improvement (though some schools clearly do need help).


  • Demanding that disabled and limited English proficient students reach “proficiency” on standardized tests sets many schools up for failure. The tests are grossly inadequate and invalid measures of these students' learning. Rather than provide resources and guidance so schools can offer the individualized approaches these students need, NCLB claims that by holding them to the “same standards” they will magically rise to the occasion. Nevertheless, those groups disproportionately fail to meet AYP targets.


  • Transfer provisions make matters worse. Some receiving schools are overwhelmed by transfers and ill-equipped to handle them. Most eligible parents are saying, "No thanks." Parents increasingly view "choice" as a hoax: their children cannot attend elite exam schools within their home districts or better-performing schools in neighboring districts. Communities need improved schools for all, not limited extra options for a few children.


  • Tutoring provisions divert money from classrooms that most need it, giving assistance to the few at the expense of the many. Tutoring focuses on test preparation and rarely connects to the curriculum. Student attendance is often low. NCLB paves the way for private firms to reap huge profits but does not hold the firms accountable.


  • As experienced, high quality teachers see schools with society's most needy students get labeled instead of helped, they transfer to higher performing schools or leave the profession. Stigmatized schools have a hard time attracting new, skilled teachers.


  • Funding for Title I, the core provision of the law, has barely increased in the last several years. NCLB funding is tens of billions below promised levels and tens of billions more from what is needed to help all children reach meaningful educational goals.


  • NCLB fails to address key reasons many children are left behind. The best school, the best teachers and the best curriculum can make a huge difference, but basic needs like housing, health care and nutrition must also be addressed. These gaps continue to widen. By blaming schools and focusing attention on boosting test scores alone, NCLB dampens the political will to address the real needs of children.


  • The law's remedies for "failing" schools do not work. Most attempts to "reconstitute" troubled schools fail to improve student performance significantly. Few if any states have the capacity to intervene in the large numbers of public schools being identified for NCLB's ultimate sanctions. 


  • There are better ways to help troubled schools. Improvement requires rich assessments, from tests and quizzes to projects and portfolios, rooted in ongoing classroom work by students and teachers; collaborative professional development for educators and time for them to plan improvements in curriculum and instruction; involvement by parents as real partners, not just test score consumers; monitoring by the state to ensure schools are equitably serving all students; and targeted assistance for schools that really need it. Only if schools or districts demonstrate they cannot or will not improve should more serious sanctions be employed.


  •  Nearly 150 education, civil rights, religious and other organizations have signed the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB, calling for an overhaul of the law away from a focus on testing and punishing and toward helping schools improve their capacity to serve all children well (available on the FairTest Website at The Forum on Educational Accountability, chaired by FairTest, has provided detailed recommendations for overhauling the federal law (


Posted by Kiki Shoes at 12:02 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: February 16, 2008 4:14 PM EST

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