NCLB Stories: Arizona
"I have always loved math, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge of and enthusiasm for its beauty with my students. With the requirements on state standards and the obsession with covering all of the standards in a given school year, it has become more difficult to make math fun. I used to have time for longer projects, discovery, and games that helped move new knowledge from short-term to long-term memory. With the increased emphasis on NCLB requirements, our district assessments, and state graduation exit exam, much of the joy that I experienced in teaching has been lost. Many students find it difficult to believe that learning math can be fun; however, for 28 years I have prided myself on doing just that -- making math something that my students enjoy.
"It saddens me to know that I no longer have time to use these successful and fun math activities in my classes. It saddens me to know that because of the emphasis on rote learning, we may be losing the future generation of mathematicians."
Mary Pat Eul
High School Math Teacher
Glendale Union HS District
"No Child Left Behind has taken the joy out of teaching in many ways. NCLB mandates that students enter the regular classroom, regardless of their abilities or special needs. Students inappropriately placed in regular classes get lost coming to the room and are totally lost when trying to understand and learn the material. Daily, they try their very best to understand the material, and I support them. But still, total confusion exists, and both the special needs students and the regular students lose precious learning time. Please, reconsider and send special needs students to classes where they can be more comfortable."
High School Teacher
Glendale Union High School
"Standardization of assessment and accountability cause me to use my precious teaching time to conduct student assessments that are far above the ability levels of my students. Even though the assessments do not give me information to drive my instruction, they still must be reported. As a National Board Certified teacher, I am confident that I know my students and can assess their growth and needs in a manner that supports their level of performance."
Special Needs Teacher
"I teach second- and fourth-grade students with learning disabilities. I love my job, except during the week of our state-mandated test (AIMS). This is one of the hardest weeks because my students have to take the test at their grade level and not at their performance level. I have students who perform at the first- or second-grade level taking tests two-to-three grades above their ability level. This causes them so much stress that they become different kids. They cry, throw temper tantrums, and get so worked up that they make themselves sick.
"During that week, I also get so upset that sometimes I can't eat. It hurts for me to watch my students get that stressed out.
"I am enthusiatic about what NEA is doing for ESEA. I hope the changes will allow my students to not be stressed out anymore."
Special Education Teacher