Thursday, February 15, 2007

'No Child Left Behind' put to the voters

No Child Left Behind first and foremost is about accountability one thing educrats truly hate. They truly do not want to be accountable for spending our dollars wisely and they truly do not want to be accountable for educating our children. They rather would spend willy nilly and ask (or sue) for more dollars than live within their means and spend at the rate of inflation as well as appreciation. No Child Left Behind would never have been necessary if public schools across the country were educating our children in the first place.

In the article below, School Board Chairman Graham Chynoweth said "It all comes down to local taxpayers funding federal law." The district does have a choice they can refuse federal tax dollars and not follow the No Child Left Behind Law. If teachers are not capable of teaching and improving student performance the district should be able to hire more capable teachers. But sadly tenure and job protection far exceeds the right of parents, students and taxpayers, school districts are not allowed to seek out the best educators possible because of tenure and the requirement of hiring people with empty teaching degrees.

Mr. Chynoweth does make a point the federal government should not be involved in education and neither should the state. Both are large bureaucratic organizations that take dollars away from the local level and away from the child and our used to pay bureaucrats. Public education is government education and is plagued with waste, mediocrity and corruption.

Dismantling the federal Department of Education (created in the Carter administration) and passing universal school choice would decrease the cost of education and improve the quality of education our children would receive.

This line " But it has come under fire from teachers and school officials, who say it forces them to teach to the test and pressures schools by setting unrealistic goals for student achievement" kills me. In short NCLB is about getting our children to perform at grade appropriate levels, that by all means is not an unrealistic goal for student achievement. No parent should be forced to send their child to a school district who believes that is an unrealistic goal.

The following piece appeared in the Concord Monitor.

No Child Left Behind' put to the voters

Monitor staff
February 15. 2007

The Shaker Regional School District has a request for the federal government: Fix and fund the No Child Left Behind Act, or repeal it. District officials also want state legislators to know they expect a collaborative and comprehensive solution to New Hampshire's education funding crisis.
Superintendent Michael Cozort said he doesn't know whether lawmakers are listening, but it can't hurt to be the squeaky wheel. The school district will put the two issues before voters at the school district meeting on March 9 in the form of nonbinding resolutions, asking voters to support their positions, even if they don't have an immediate effect.

The articles were crafted by the district's public policy committee, which was formed three years ago to debate education legislation, draft position statements and meet with local lawmakers. Education groups, such as the National Education Association and the New Hampshire School Boards Association, often undertake lobbying efforts on behalf of schools and teachers, but Shaker wanted to bring it to the local level, Cozort said.

"I think our residents expected us to be more active politically," he said.

School Board Chairman Graham Chynoweth began the committee soon after the district started feeling the effects of the No Child Left Behind Act, which was first implemented in 2002.

The group has had lunch with Merrimack County legislators to discuss the resolutions and plans to meet with Belknap County lawmakers as well. Committee members have also written letters to Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu, former congressmen Charles Bass and Jeb Bradley and new Reps. Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter.
"I don't know if it makes a significant difference in their thinking, or whether it's something that makes us feel better," Cozort said. "But I think if more people do this, it's not a lone voice in the wilderness."

The committee - made up of two school board members, the superintendent, and the district curriculum coordinator - has spoken out about school vouchers, charter schools and the state dropout age. The group has also issued a statement against a plan that could reduce Medicaid reimbursements for schools that provide services to students with disabilities, but the issue did not make it to the warrant this year. Foremost on the minds of committee members is the upcoming reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act and the state Legislature's task of defining and funding an adequate education.

"In some ways, we are no longer policy makers," Chynoweth said. "We are enforcers of state and federal regulations, and that's an unhappy event, from my point of view, for local school boards."

The No Child Left Behind Act is the largest set of regulations the district must adhere to, and the resolution will encourage the federal government to help by contributing more funds or loosening the requirements.

The law was intended to narrow achievement gaps among students, hold schools and teachers accountable for education shortcomings and bring all students up to grade level in reading and math by 2014. But it has come under fire from teachers and school officials, who say it forces them to teach to the test and pressures schools by setting unrealistic goals for student achievement.

In the Shaker Regional School District, 5 to 7 percent of the budget comes from federal grants. But the government's intrusion into the school district's daily operations is not proportional to the funding it provides, Chynoweth said.

"It all comes down to local taxpayers funding federal law," he said.

If approved, the second resolution would call upon all branches of state government to work collaboratively to define and support an adequate education for New Hampshire's children, as required by the state Supreme Court in its recent school funding decision.

That may be a difficult task considering New Hampshire's tax structure, but Chynoweth said the committee feels it can be done. It just needs a little work.

"Make it the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night," he said, pleading with legislators.

Although the committee's effect is difficult to measure, the results of the last election may be some indication, Chynoweth said. Hodes and Shea-Porter, who shared the school district's view of the No Child Left Behind Act on the campaign trail, defeated Bass and Bradley, he said.

"We'd like to believe that our previously voiced opinion in opposition to No Child Left Behind may have had an influence on someone, one voter maybe," Chynoweth said.

The resolutions will be open for discussion at the school district meeting on March 9 at 7 p.m. at Belmont High School.


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