Monday, September 26, 2011

NCLB - Dummying down standards- New Bar Being set for flexibility

Well, I have to give a shout out to closed-captions at the gym.  In the midst of my morning cardio I caught Arne Duncan's interview on Morning Joe and was really pleased to at least "see" what he said - it looks like a promising change in policy.  Whether it comes to fruition is another story, but as a long-time proponent for doing away with NCLB since it began, it's nice to see that there may be some hope. 

Here are a couple of my favorite Arne Duncan quotes from the interview:
1) "We are encouraging states to raise standards, not dummy them down like we did for NCLB"
2) "Give them a high bar, but give them a lot of flexibility to hit that high bar"
3) "What we are much more focused on rather than absolute test scores is growth and gain, progress.  How much are individual students getting better each year?

Mr. Duncan gives a nice example of this growth - you are a great teacher if a student comes to you three grade levels behind and leaves only one grade level behind.  Under NCLB this teacher and this student would be labeled as failures, but under the new flexibility, this 2-grade level jump shows tremendous growth and hard work and is NOT a failure.

Let's hope this truly becomes the focus for demonstrating success in schools.  It gives teachers and students something realistic to strive for rather than those arbitrary test scores.

Here's the clip if you want to watch it yourself:

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