NCLB: Our Children… Left Behind and basically handed to recruiters for the military? Be outraged!

NCLB is more than Under-funded and Under-planned, it’s Under-handed.

Here’s my list of nefarious things about NCLB and…WE CAN AND SHOULD PROTEST THIS first one ASAP!!!….

(at the end of this entire post..there is an amazing video on this subject, don’t forget to view it)…

#1 NCLB gives military recruiters the names, social security numbers  and addresses of your children!!!! (once they they become juniors in high school!!! – boys and girls alike).  You must opt-out of this process, but the problem is that neither of these two facts are publicized, so our kids sixteen and older are ripe targets for recruiters.  They are then allowed to call your homes, talk to your young adults (teens), and visit them on the school campus without your knowledge…unless of course you opt out.

Here’s the part of NCLB that puts this process in motion:

NCLB  Section 9528

  • Requires that school districts release the names, addresses and telephone numbers of juniors and seniors to military recruiters upon request unless an Opt-Out form is signed and returned.
  • In LAUSD the Opt-Out form must be returned to the local school by OCTOBER 27th, 2007.  All others check with your school district.

ASVAB – a way to get around the “Opt-Outs”

  • The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a voluntary military placement exam used as a general aptitude test for career options.
  • IT IS A MILITARY RECRUITING TOOL and was given in 75% of LAUSD schools in 2005.
  • Schools are guilt of violating family confidentiality by giving military recruiters access to private information gathered from students via the ASVAB testing information (including social security numbers)
  • Military recruiters use the ASVAB to ignore the Opt-Out process.
  • The ASVAB skirts parental rights by giving incomplete information to parents about it, and by releasing private information to military recruiters without parental consent.
  • The only way to ensure student privacy is to use other aptitude diagnostic tools instead of the military entrance exam.
  • It’s voluntary, don’t take the ASVAB.  If you choose to take it request Option 8 that means scores will not be released to military recruiters.

PENTAGON DATABASE

  • The Pentagon has been collecting a centralized data base without Congressional authorization of over 700 pieces of information on millions of youth between 16 to 25 years of age.

Act to Protect Your Privacy from Military Recruiters!!

You may be harassed at home by military recruiters because your name, address and phone number will be given to them by your school — unless you tell your school to not give out the information. To exercise your legal right to have this information kept private, you should notify your school office as soon as possible. Some school districts may provide their own forms for this, but they must obey your request no matter how you submit it. You can write your own letter or use the one below. (I was told at our school that they will not consider a handwritten note from a parent, that we MUST use one of the official forms.  Use a letter or form for each individual student and keep a copy. It is not required by law, but we recommend having a parent or guardian also sign.

Section 9528 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 (No Child Left Behind) mandates that school districts must provide
the contact information (names, addresses and telephone numbers) of juniors and seniors to the military upon request unless an Opt Out form
is signed and returned to the school.

Students must Opt Out every year.

here is the link to the paperwork that must be turned in to The Pentagon allowing you as a parent to “opt-out” your student from potential recruitment, which NCLB gives them the right to do.

ENGLISH:     http://www.militaryfreeschools.org/PDF/optout09.pdf

SPANISH:     http://www.militaryfreeschools.org/PDF/LAUSDoptout09sp.pdf

More information on NCLB in general:

#1 NCLB does not FIX anything!  It is making our students, teachers and administrators suffer.

NCLB has good intentions: It aims to improve teacher quality, provide school choice for families, and hold schools accountable for academic achievement. It does this last bit by measuring kids’ performance in grades 3-11 and in a very unfair and odd way.

Additionally, results must be reported in such a way that demographic groups are reported separately. This way, a school can’t make progress with some groups, while leaving others behind. This disaggregated data reveals the performance by ethnic identification, income level, and disability status. It has the capacity to shed light on the dark corners of discrimination that has been historically reinforced by our multi-tiered school system.
In fact it creates problems:

One the  biggest problems with NCLB is that it stipulates 100% compliance by the year 2014. That is to say that every group of students in every school is responsible for performing at grade level by then, and in every year between now and then, they are to make what is known as “adequate yearly progress,” commonly referred to as AYP. This means that they must meet the linear target between where they are now, and grade level proficiency. The thing is: every school, in every district, is being held to the same standard. They are all expected to reach that common standard by 2014.

It’s a great idea, but the supports necessary in order for schools to reach that performance level are not in place!  If a school has been performing at grade level all along, they’re golden. If a school is serving a community that has historically been underperforming, they are in big trouble, because every year that they haven’t made AYP-which increases proportionally the further they are from grade level performance to begin with-the greater the gains they must make each year.

So, if a school which has been lacking the resources and supports in order to demonstrate proficiency misses the AYP target one year, it must not only meet that target the following year, but also hit the next target on the linear path to proficiency, as if they had never gotten off track. This is nearly impossible. It’  The problems in a school not meeting AYP are always varied, complex,  and sometimes ethereal. And what happens if a school doesn’t make AYP by 2014? (I mean really, once you’ve missed it one or two years, the chances of catching up are quite slim.) Well, there is no plan for that. Your school gets redesigned- but the kids are the same, and so are all the unsolvedand unaddressed problems that made the school unsuccessful in the first place, are still there!

So what should be done?  While it is true that some data indicate some things that are useful, but testing is not the silver bullet, and we are killing our kids with it, and there is no excitement in the curriculum and no spark to interest the children in learning.  (What happened to the ‘wonder of learning?)  Isn’t it more important to plant the seeds of curiosity, organization and critical thinking?  This cannot be done with a mundane one size fits all curriculum where teachers have no ability to make their message maleable! and creative!   We need to provide low-performing school communities with the enrichment opportunities that are known to correlate with what are  thought to be the cause for later high academic achievement.   We need to make teaching a harder job to get, and a more attractive professional choice.

We need to recognize this as the keystone issue that it is: the fundamental reform of our schools is not the work only for teachers and administrators, this is a civil rights issue.  These are our children, we have a right to give our children a public education.  We pay our hard earned tax dollars into the state and federal coffers in order to fund a fair and just curriculum.  There are items here which should be an outrage.   This is a community development issue, and a global economy issue.  The fight to end NCLB requires the commitment of everyone in every sector in our society.  Let’s take our children’s education back.  Childhood is a journey, NOT A RACE!!!!

#2 NCLB is underfunded

This destructive program is imposed and enforced by the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, which has made federal funding for public education contingent on the states holding teachers and schools accountable for “achievement” as measured by student performance on standardized math and reading tests, with the putative intention of narrowing and eventually (by 2014) totally eliminating the “achievement gap” between students in affluent suburban schools and students in innercity schools. The law stipulates punitive measures for schools that don’t measure up. These schools, invariably already cash and resource starved, must use some of their federal Title I funding to pay for private after-school tutoring programs

#3 NCLB is underplanned

#4 NCLB turns schools into starving wolves punishing chronically ill children as truants as their continued absence dilutes the AYP and state monies.  Schools are quick  to litigate against students’  parents until either the family leaves the school or  complies with inordinate and almost insurmountable compliance process in order to avoid truant status,  per the California state attendance rules and the definition of  “truancy.”

#5 NCLB turns kids in to wonderful test takers and strategizers!  Not critical thinkers!  (there are classes on ‘test taking strategies!)

#6 NCLB schools are indirectly encouraged to cease funding ART, MUSIC and even PHYSICAL EDUCATION, in order to reapportion funds to accounts that support raising test scores and providing  for remedial options for children who are not making progress toward the school’s goal.    Monies are thought to be better directed toward the goal of   Making AYP and hence getting closer to “100% proficiency,”  therefore they opt to take from art, music and P.E. in order to assure better test scores in the basics and make sure they don’t miss achievement of the AYP.    (Usually Physical education is not taken out of the curriculum but minimal benchmark changes  are made with less or lower cost equipment.)**

#7 NCLB slaps so much work on kids in order to ensure that they test high and contribute to the school’s AYP, that the stress is detrimental. We experienced 12-13 pages of homework every night, where my son (who was an “A” student at the time and still is), would work from after school, through dinner and even after bedtime in order to complete all of the tasks assigned to him. Sometimes sneaking a flashlight in his bed to finish his assignments.!  This was common with other students also.

#8 NCLB creates a “one size fits all” curriculum by grade, higher achievers must wait and do busy work while students slower to grasp concepts struggle to understand curriculum. Higher achievers are not challenged. On the flip-side “mentally challenged” or “special education” students are given the same curriculum as the standard students and mandated to reach the same goals!

#9 NCLB Makes teachers statisticians. There is no intuitive teaching aspect to working with children. There is no personal touch, in fact, teachers cannot even touch students. No pat on the back or handshake unless those occurrences are mandated by curriculum and are necessary to a learning module.  There is only speed-tests, test taking strategies and rubrics.  It is now well known that students can be classified by ‘learning style’ for example: tactile, verbal, viusal, and any combination therof. The problem is that even with this knowlege, there is very little flexibility in the NCLB curriculum that allows the teacher to reach individual students via these concepts.

#10 NCLB makes time ‘of the essence’ as each student must have scores that contribute to and help the school reach their AYP. (Adequate Yearly Progress), or they will become a liability to the school. Each school must achieve AYP every year and each and every student must be deemed 100% “proficient by 2014

#11 NCLB places a “monetary value” on a student’s capacity to attend school consistently.  (If a student’s cost to attendance ratio is skewed by illness, therefor necessary absence, the school will try to rid themselves of the ‘liability! . See my older post ! This is happening to me, (my son and my family)!!!

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