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Education Philosophy - No Child Left Behind

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Resource 2: Module 3 Resources

No Child Left Behind

Recently, the federal government is taking a more active regulatory role in education reform. As you have discovered, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBTPS) defined exemplary teacher performance and identified the process by which teachers could demonstrate that performance. Setting standards is one thing. Actually achieving them is quite a different matter. Consequently, in 2002, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (http://www.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml?src=ln). School districts are held accountable for improving student performance and are responsible for improving teacher quality. Recognizing that "the current reauthorization of this law ...poses a number of new challenges and opportunities for state educators," the Council of Chief State School Officers provides "strategies designed to support state educators in meeting these challenges" (http://www.ccsso.org/federal_programs/NCLB/index.cfm). Suzanne Whitney, research editor for Wrightslaw has written a straightforward Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind (http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/nclb.parent.guide.heath.htm).

The educator also needs to be aware of issues that result from the mandates of NCLB. These include: inadequate funding; punishment rather than assistance for failing schools; standardized testing as sole criterion of achievement; unresolved issues of school choice, home schooling, and charter schools; lack of focus on socioeconomic causes of poor performance; student transiency (McKenzie, J. (2003) No Child Left in Bellingham, WA: FNO Press (http://nochildleft.com/2003/jancov03.html#index). Some comment that politicians have offered simple solutions to complex problems. Whatever the concerns about the law, teachers are faced with improving student performance.

State Professional Teaching Standards

Historically, education has been governed at the local and state levels. States generally set their own teaching standards. According to data on Title II Technical Assistance (2003) (http://www.title2.org/html2003/Elizabeths_files/Teacher.htm), 87% of states have developed standards that prospective teachers must meet in order to attain initial teacher certification or licensure; 96% of states with overarching set of teacher standards that currently applies to all teaching fields and grade levels; 65%, 63%, and 70% of states have distinct state teacher standards elementary, middle, and secondary education, respectively. Professional standards Boards establish standards and requirements for teacher certification. The Education Commission of the States (2002) (http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/40/88/4088.htm) reported on states establishing autonomous, semi-autonomous, and advisory state boards, identifying seven states with none at the time.

State standards generally parallel those of the NBTPS. In compliance with NCLB, states also defined High Quality Teacher, usually by fortifying their state teacher certification requirements. States require teachers to demonstrate knowledge in subject areas and skills in teaching for licensure. Many state departments of education use standardized testing, often the Praxis SeriesTM of Educational Testing Series (ETS) to meet this requirement (http://www.ets.org/praxis/). The Praxis SeriesTM test skills are based on those of the High Quality Teacher (http://www.ets.org/aboutets) of NCLB. Prospective educators would profit by investigating this testing series (http://www.praxisprepinfo.com/praxis_2_ets.htm).

Students need to investigate their state teacher standards, state response to NCLB and definition of High Quality Teacher through their state department of education (http://www.ccsso.org/chief_state_school_officers/state_education_agencies/index.cfm). Because state standards are often buried deep in state Web sites, examples are given in State Standards, accessible through the individual websites of the State Departments of Education as given in Resource 3 of this course.

Standards of Professional Organizations for Special Education

What is most important to special educators is the impact of NCLB on implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA-97) and the requirements for teaching students with disabilities. The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (2002) has identified areas of clarity and confusion relating to the impact of NCLB on special education, and has provided suggestions to plan for the implementation of NCLB. For example, according to NCLB, academic standards, adequate yearly progress, improved graduation

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