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No Child Left Behind

 
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chester yang



Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 7
Location: southwest PR China

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:01 pm    Post subject: No Child Left Behind Reply with quote

How does this legislation affect ESL programs in public schools in the USA? Does anybody have to deal with this? From what I gather, the legislation is not very good, fair, or popular.
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 379

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked for a little over 4 years as an ESL in a special ed high school in NYC, and I had to spend many hours administering the NYSESLAT. Was I testing their English proficiency or assessing their disability? Yet, I had to administer it. I was instead expected to "demonstrate progress" at the IEP (Individual Education Plan) level. I.e. Over the next 3 months, Karl will write his full name with visual supports, or By the end of 2012, Gina will know the letters of the alphabet. How many times did my students reach only part of their goal and have to repeat the goal?

I also had to administer something called an alternate assessment which vigorously stretched concepts from grade level standards such as algebra to be adapted for students for special needs. So, grade 12 algebra gets watered down to identifying the repeating pattern in a serious of symbols, such as triangle, square, square, triangle, square, __________ <--- What comes next? This test could be repeated until the student was deemed proficient in the activity.

So, in special ed in the field of ESL, an incredible amount of time was wasted on testing as a result of attempting to comply with NCLB. When not testing, I was concerned with what the kids really needed... They needed life lessons such as teaching "kids" (some of them were 21, but still needed basic life skills) how to brush their teeth, wash their hands, recycle, have good manners, or have good work skills.


Last edited by timothypfox on Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 379

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NCLB was a George Brush jr. brainchild to raise academic standards and increase teacher quality through accountability. It means widescale standardized testing.

Problems with this is that teachers will teach more narrowly to the test. NCLB has also created a huge backlash against public school teachers. TV news and newspapers have been increasingly negative and have reported the rhetoric of schools not having highly qualified enough teachers. Some schools and teachers concerned about securing funding and retaining teachers have illegally inflated or altered grades. I have seen this first hand.

NCLB may violate the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) because standardized tests do not properly accomodate individuals with disabilities. I have seen this first hand. Even with a test manual which lists several ways to accomodate individuals with disabilities, tests such as the New York State English as a Second Language Aptitude Test (NYSESLAT) may (and certainly did with the population of students I worked with) test each students disability rather than their English language level.

NCLB has also set some unrealistic goals for the amount of time it will take for ELLs to fully acquire a second language. What do you also do when an increasing percentage of students entering large city schools at the junior high and even high school level are ELLs?

Anyways... you can read more... my feeling is that NCLB has very good intentions, but in practice is mean-spirited towards public school teachers and sets up too idealistic expectations. Aren't many states now applying for "waivers" to comply with NCLB as we speak? Complying costs money that many states don't have....

See this link for more:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act
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