Calling it a "Christmas miracle," President Barack Obama signed a sweeping overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law on Thursday, ushering in a new approach to accountability, teacher evaluations and the way the most poorly performing schools are pushed to improve.
Joined by lawmakers, students and teachers in a White House auditorium, Obama praised the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind for having the right goals. He said that in practice, it fell short or applied a cookie-cutter approach that failed to produce desired results. Under the new law, the federal government will shift more decision-making powers back to states.
"With this bill, we reaffirm that fundamentally American ideal that every child— regardless of race, gender, background, zip code — deserves the chance to make out of their lives what they want," Obama said. "This is a big step in the right direction."
The overhaul ends more than a decade of what critics have derided as one-size-fits-all federal policies dictating accountability and improvement for the nation's 100,000 or so public schools. But one key feature remains: Students will still take federally required statewide reading and math exams. Still, the new law encourages states to limit the time students spend on testing and diminishes the high stakes for underperforming schools.
You know how you say you hate something, but you REALLY don't hate it, but can't think of a better word?
Yeah well not me my friends, I fucking HATE No Child Left Behind. And I don't care who knows it.
I had to watch kids with developmental and behavioral challenges leave high school with a "Certificate of Participation" instead of a diploma, simply because they could not pass the NCLB exit exams. They had accomplished all of the work, and passed the class room tests given by the teacher, but they simply could not get over that final hurdle.
Many of these kids had no plans to go to college, but earning that degree was very important to them.
Seeing them walk off that stage clutching a useless piece of paper in their hands broke my damn heart.
So yes I am very glad that the guidelines have been changed.
I don't mind testing but when it destroys a student's confidence, or becomes the sole focus of a teacher's curriculum, then it is doing more harm than good.