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Obama wants change on NCLB

May 21, 2011

I am all for changing NCLB, the mandate that 100% of students need to be proficient by 2014 has shown itself to be nothing but an arbitrary number pulled out of thin air that “sounded good” at the time.  I am not being defeatist, but I recognize that NOT every student will perform well, not every student CARES about school, not every student has a home life which would support learning in school.  Some kids go home and are lucky if there is dinner, they are lucky if their parents are even home, this is sad but true in many poor neighborhoods around the country.  Enter Obama:  In this LATimes piece he is stating that NCLB needs to be changed, I agree with him of course, but some of his statements don’t stack up with his actions, nor the actions of his education chief Arne Duncan.

President Obama greets graduates at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tenn., on Monday.

President Obama used his weekly address to make a fresh push for an overlooked domestic priority, urging Congress move his proposed overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law.  The president highlighted progress made at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tenn., where he delivered a commencement address Monday, in calling on lawmakers to give local schools greater flexibility.
“We need to reward the reforms that are driven not by Washington, but by principals and teachers and parents. That’s how we’ll make progress in education – not from the top down, but from the bottom up,” he said.

This last statement by Obama is loaded with hypocrisy!  One of the many complaints that teachers around this entire country have offered up to this administration is that they are NOT LISTENING to teachers, principals, etc…One of the things that annoys me about politics, or life in general are platitudes.  Platitudes offered up for different situations that don’t really mean anything bother me.  Some people are excellent at it, like A. Duncan, but they are still just platitudes.  My suggestion to the President: “Don’t just issue a statement (although it makes sense) for the sake of issuing a statement – your actions need to speak as loud as your words.”

Obama last called on Congress to act in March, citing a Department of Education report that found that 82% of the nation’s public schools could fail to meet federal standards under the 2002 education overhaul pushed by President George W. Bush. He said Congress should reauthorize the legislation before the start of the 2011-12 school year.

“The goals of No Child Left Behind were the right goals. But what hasn’t worked is denying teachers, schools and states what they need to meet these goals,” Obama said at the time.

Democrats and Republicans widely agree that No Child Left Behind needs an overhaul, if not how precisely to do so. Many Democrats, and allies in the teachers unions, think schools need more federal money. They support standards of achievement but don’t want teachers judged solely by student tests.

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