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NCLB Stories: Rhode Island

"I teach in one of the many Title I schools in Newport. More than half of my students are on free or reduced lunch and come from single parent homes.

"NCLB has had a devastating effect on our school curriculum because many students did not meet standards on our state English and math tests.

"The demands of NCLB to provide remedial classes and additional support have forced the school system to shift funds. Our course offerings have dwindled and there are few choices for our students. Gone are whole-child classes such as advanced art, fashion design, Asian studies, and chorus.

"The schools can't do it alone. Local systems simply cannot provide all that NCLB requires. The federal government must fund NCLB/ESEA to fulfill the promise to provide quality education for our students."

Tia G. Scigulinsky
High School Teacher
Newport
Portsmouth, Rhode Island

 

"As an elementary classroom teacher, I am always searching for confirmation of understanding. Sometimes I find it in the way a student phrases an answer, in reading their writing, in the expression on a face, the slight nod of the head, or a sparkle in the eye. I smile and know 'Ah, they've got it.'  These moments are the ones that bring me joy and fulfillment. It is in these times that I know I am in exactly the place that I am meant to be -- a classroom filled with inquisitive children.

"However, with the implementation of No Child Left Behind, gone are the days of students learning at their own pace, in their own time, and in their own way. All students are now expected to learn based on national standards. This idea of robotic students all achieving at the same pace goes against everything we know about how children learn and grow. Due to the unrealistic expectations of NCLB, educators spend an inordinate amount of time assessing and documenting the acquisition of each skill. Much of this time is spent in manufactured scenarios, disconnected from the natural learning going on in the classroom.

"There is a reason that colleges give a Bachelor of Arts degree for teaching -- because it is just that, an art form. Capitalizing on the teachable moment is a skill that is honed through experience, not learned from a manual. It is through being with our students and seeing the art in their learning, that we develop the art in our teaching."
"As an elementary classroom teacher, I am always searching for confirmation of understanding. Sometimes I find it in the way a student phrases an answer, in reading their writing, in the expression on a face, the slight nod of the head, or a sparkle in the eye. I smile and know 'Ah, they've got it.'  These moments are the ones that bring me joy and fulfillment. It is in these times that I know I am in exactly the place that I am meant to be -- a classroom filled with inquisitive children.

"However, with the implementation of No Child Left Behind, gone are the days of students learning at their own pace, in their own time, and in their own way. All students are now expected to learn based on national standards. This idea of robotic students all achieving at the same pace goes against everything we know about how children learn and grow. Due to the unrealistic expectations of NCLB, educators spend an inordinate amount of time assessing and documenting the acquisition of each skill. Much of this time is spent in manufactured scenarios, disconnected from the natural learning going on in the classroom.

"There is a reason that colleges give a Bachelor of Arts degree for teaching -- because it is just that, an art form. Capitalizing on the teachable moment is a skill that is honed through experience, not learned from a manual. It is through being with our students and seeing the art in their learning, that we develop the art in our teaching."

Susan Wiegand
Second Grade Teacher/Co-President of the Bristol-Warren Education Association
Bristol-Warren Regional SD
Bristol, Rhode Island