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NCLB Stories: Georgia

"I am sure that this story will not be a surprise. As a lot of teachers do, I work in a Title I school with low parent participation and apathetic students. We do not have adequate money to implement most mandated programs, and children continue to suffer because of it. Please hear our voices. Repeal the law or pay for the costs associated with it."

Elaine Colwell
Elementary School Teacher
Dekalb County
Lithonia, Georgia


"There is no way that a special education student can be held to the same standard as a regular education student. New accommodations are being written that allow special education students to use a calculator for math; therefore, it will be allowed on the state test. This is not what the NCLB law should mean!"

Sylvia Controy
Sixth Grade Math Teacher
Cobb County
Marietta, Georgia


"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
Carroll County
Carrollton, Georgia


"For 17 years I have taught children in public schools. Under NCLB, my fourth-grade students are constantly being assessed. Some students have been told by their parents or teachers that they will fail their grade if they do not pass the federal- and state-mandated standardized tests. The students become so afraid that they cannot do their best.

"This year during testing, I had five students who became physically ill during the standardized test because they were so stressed. Three others began crying when they came to an answer they did not know.

"These young children do not need so many tests and stresses in their lives. Please stop comparing apples to oranges. All students are individuals and should be judged on their own efforts and not constantly expected to reach the same point, all at the same time. Stop this insanity."

Lorraine Lassiter
Fourth Grade Teacher
Clayton County
Milner, Georgia


"In May 2006, I had five seniors who failed their required English class. I informed them and their parents that they would have to make up this credit in summer school to graduate. To my surprise, they all graduated one week later.

"A counselor at my school had told them about an online college course that would allow them to earn one year's high school English credit in just three days. I was horrified that my local school system would use such courses, which are obviously cash cows for colleges and that undermine the classroom teacher.

"Every administrator I spoke to admitted that these courses were grossly inferior, but they won't get rid of them, even though by state regulations they don't have to accept them. Why won't they? Because these courses are their safety net against NCLB's mandated 85 percent graduation rate.

"While an 85 percent graduation rate is a good goal, we should be striving to find real, life-changing methods to achieve this, and not giving students the false notion that they will be ready for college by doing a 'magic' course.

"Students are also being taught that they can receive the same rewards in three days for which their more conscientious classmates have worked for 36 weeks. All this is being done to satisfy a statistic and just shows what local boards are doing because of the stress put on them by NCLB."

Pat Pepper
High School English Teacher
Cherokee County
Acworth, Georgia


"My name is Fredria Sterling, and I have been an educator for the past 30 years. I presently teach middle school-aged learning-disabled students. The NCLB legislation has greatly impacted their student achievement.

"These students are required to learn the same material as their regular education peers despite their impaired cognitive learning abilities. I see the distress in their faces when they are faced with standardized tests, end-of-nine-week assessments, and county assessments.

"They are required to learn too much material in such a short period of time. Each spring, I must coach them on test-taking strategies and practice tests that will prepare them for the high-stakes test in our state. In order for these students to be successful and enjoy learning, as they did in past years, I believe that we must take them from where they are academically and work to bring them to the level where they should be-at their own pace.

"NCLB has caused much stress and anxiety for teachers, as well as for their students. Teachers want their students to learn but must face the reality that students don't come to the table with the same skills and abilities. So, it is impossible for every student to be on the same level by 2014."

Fredria Sterling
Middle School Teacher
Gwinnett County
Lawrenceville, Georgia