Posts Tagged NCLB

Teaching to the Test: When Will it Stop?

NCLB-waiver-by-stateOne of the biggest debates going on in the educational industry for the good part of the last decade is student test evaluations. The No Child Left Behind Act was put in place with the intentions of making the U.S educational system a better place. Unfortunately, the opposite has seemed to happen. Teachers are now spending more time on test questions than on other subjects that could help a student in the “real world”.

Waivers
Educational Secretary Arne Duncan has decided to give school districts waivers so schools can start focusing on other standards students need to be focusing on. One of the first waivers given was to McPherson USD, in McPherson, KS.

In partnership with Quantum Learning and ACT, Inc., McPherson USD developed the C³ – Citizenship, College and Career Readiness plan that contains measures in the three areas of emphasis. McPherson is not the only district in America using Quantum Learning methodologies to change how their students learn and teachers teach. One of the reasons why Quantum Learning trained teachers are so effective is because they learn the “why” behind great teaching, by learning the way our brains develop and retain information.

More Waivers Now Being Given
At the beginning of August, President Obama has given the go ahead for states to request permission for a NCLB waiver. “With efforts to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act languishing in Congress, President Barack Obama has directed the U.S. Department of Education to grant waivers to states that agree to adopt a prescribed set of education reforms,” Education Week reports.

Education Week goes on to report, “Just what those reforms will be—and what freedoms states will gain in return—remain unclear. Those details will be made public in September, Obama administration officials said in a call to reporters.”

Some states that have already filed for the waiver are:

  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan

What is your opinion on this topic? Should states be allowed to receive these waivers? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: UtahPublicEducation.org

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No Child Left Behind Taking Toll On U.S. Schools

There are aproximatly 98,916 public schools in the U.S.,and according to a new report from the Center on Education Policy, 38 percent of ALL U.S. SCHOOLS have missed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) AYP testing standards. This is up five percentage points from 2009. Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education has said, “as many as 82% of schools could be labeled as failing for the current school year.”

Other stand out statistics from the report are as follows:

  • The District of Columbia’s school district failed the AYP standards by 91 percent.
  • Eight-six percent of Florida schools are considered unsuccessful.
  • In some states, changes in the number of schools not making AYP are largely attributable to changes in the cut scores defining proficient performance on state tests.
  • Even if most or all states adopt common standards and common assessments, variations in state accountability policies could continue to make it impossible to arrive at meaningful comparisons about the performance of different states.
The President feels Duncan’s claim that 84% of U.S. schools could be labeled as failing is unlikely. The Department of Education has fired back, and  stand by their analysis and this is just one more reason why the NCLB needs to be rewritten this year.

There are ways to get better education nationwide. It starts with great teaching, and there are a number of great teachers already around the U.S. So why are the numbers so bleak?  Could it be lack of motivation on the students’ part? Could it be teachers are feeling the budget cuts and are over worked? There are numerous reasons, but test scores are not the way to measure student achievement. In McPherson, Kansas, Arne Duncan has seen change, and has allowed a waiver to NCLB to the entire school district in McPherson.

In partnership with Quantum Learning and ACT, Inc., McPherson USD developed the C³ – Citizenship, College and Career Readiness plan that contains measures in the three areas of emphasis. McPherson is not the only district in America using Quantum Learning methodologies to change how their students learn and teachers teach. One of the reasons why Quantum Learning trained teachers are so effective is because they learn the “why” behind great teaching, by learning the way our brains develop and retain information.

Below is a video from teachers, students and administrators from three different school districts that have fully implemented Quantum Learning in their schools. We might not be the only solution, but we are a great solution.

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Federal Government Grants Historic No Child Left Behind Waiver

The U.S. Department of Education has granted the first broad-based school-district waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act. This act was signed into law almost a decade ago by President George W. Bush and requires all government-run schools receiving federal funding to administer statewide standardized tests.

 
Randy Watson, the McPherson Unified School District superintendent, was informed last week that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan approved the waiver request from his school district. In partnership with Quantum Learning and ACT, Inc., McPherson USD developed the C³ – Citizenship, College and Career Readiness plan that contains measures in the three areas of emphasis.

Dr. Watson said that the U.S. Department of Education called the C³ initiative “bold, challenging and one of a kind in the United States.” He also indicated that his district was told by DOE officials that similar future waiver requests from other school districts will need to follow the McPherson model.

“Quantum Learning is thrilled to be part of this breakthrough initiative in McPherson,” said Bobbi DePorter, president of Quantum Learning Network, which integrates Quantum Learning teacher and student programs in school districts nationwide and has worked with McPherson USD for nearly 10 years.

Ms. DePorter went on to say that the opportunity to develop students who are better equipped for success in college, careers and life is consistent with Quantum Learning’s mission to transform education and the lives of young people through more effective teaching strategies and student engagement.

Standardized testing mandated by No Child Left Behind has come under significant scrutiny in recent months from many who believe the state standardized tests have too narrow an academic focus, are not an authentic measurement of a student’s learning, and create undue stress for students, teachers, administrators and parents.

Dr. Watson chose to partner with Quantum Learning on development of the Citizenship-Ready component of the C³ model. Quantum Learning’s 8 Keys of Excellence is McPherson USD’s foundation for teaching and assessing students in their citizenship readiness. The model also includes a partnership with ACT, which will supply multiple assessments for 6th–12th grade students based on a College Ready/Career Ready curriculum.

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