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What NCLB Means

By Michelle R. Davis — February 26, 2007 1 min read
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As talk of reauthorization swirls around the No Child Left Behind Act, the National Education Association wants everyone to know what happens when the federal education law trickles down to the classroom. That’s why the 3.2 million-member group published Voices From the Classroom, a book of teachers’ stories about the effects of NCLB. Below is a sample of educators’ experiences. Stories from each state are online at www.nea.org/esea/nclbstories/states.html

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No Amendment Left Behind

“[NCLB] has taken the fun and creativity out of the teaching profession. Gone are the days when I could take an entire class period to react to current events and develop the whole child by teaching them how what is going on in the world impacts their life. Instead, my instruction is limited to being on a certain page of the text by a certain day of the year.”

Terri Zumbrook, 7th grade math teacher
Round Lake, Illinois

“As an alternative education teacher working with expelled students, I have been forced to teach only academic subjects. I no longer have time in the school day to teach independent-living skills, social skills, the arts, and community-access skills. These are areas of learning that these students lack and need in order to turn their lives around.”

Celia Lamantia, counselor
Santa Rosa, California

“Although I have been teaching for 28 years, I was unable to teach my own students reading and math without a teacher present who had met the NCLB definition of highly qualified. I had to pay $200 to prove my competence. I consider this a punishment for choosing to major in a very demanding field.”

Marcie Kuykendall, special education teacher
Carrollton, Georgia

“Since my students have begun to take the tests to show that we are meeting [NCLB] standards, their understanding of math has gone down. … They just want to know what to do next, not why. The students are concerned about passing the tests, not knowing what they are doing.”

Susan Allen, middle school teacher
Baltimore, Maryland

“As the person in charge of testing at my school, I totaled the average time that a sophomore student might spend in testing … to be about 54 hours over three years. That is roughly equivalent to more than one quarter in a given school year at our school! That is time the teacher could have used to actually teach those students.”

John Pruitt, high school counselor
Richfield, Utah

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A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 2007 edition of Teacher as What NCLB Means


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