NCLB Stories: Texas
"I teach resource English to sixth, seventh , and eighth graders. NCLB has caused a lot of frustration among many of my co-workers. The acronym sounds really good, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach in education.
"There is no real teaching or creativity in the classroom because teachers are constantly being given mandates on where the students should be in their learning. Many students are simply not there and, unfortunately, some are not going to get there.
"Students are put on levels by people from on high, regardless of how the student is performing academically. Teachers at my school are told that this came from 'downtown' (meaning the district) or NCLB.
"Teachers are struggling to perform miracles in the classroom. One example: I have a student who is a nonreader. He is in the eighth grade and, academically, he is on a kindergarten or first-grade level. Why is this child required to take Benchmarks and SDAA or maybe TAKS at an eighth-grade level? To me, this sets the student up for failure and makes me wonder why am I even here, when people who have never seen my students or even stepped foot in my classroom can tell me what the students are capable of doing?
"We are told that we should have high expectations for our students. I expect all my students to be successful in whatever they do. I know that most of them will not become rocket scientists, but why make them feel that there is no hope for them because of a level and a test? A test tells me very little about a person or what that person knows.
"It may be No Child Left Behind for some, but I see it as LPCO—Let's Put the Child Out when the student realizes that he or she is not as good as or as smart as another student, according to some stranger's standards."
Middle School Resource Teacher
Fort Worth, Texas
"This year (2006-2007) my building will lose most of our educational support professionals because they do not have a college associate degree.
"Despite new job requirements, their family concerns and money situations do not allow them to go back to school. We are a Title I school."
Middle School Teacher
"NCLB has caused the district to specify how each teacher will teach their math classes and the exact days when material should be covered. All math teachers have to been on the same page on a daily basis and test the student at about the same time.
It has taken the flexibility and creativity from the teacher's hand and turned teaching into a robot-type program that does not meet student needs. As a consequence, students begin to fall behind and give up if they are not able to keep up with the tight schedule.
In addition, teachers are being ridiculed and reprimanded, thus causing many good math teachers to either change employment or get out of the profession altogether. It is causing kids to drop out and seek alternatives to getting an education."
George Helm, Jr.
Middle School Teacher
Spring Branch ISD
"In Texas,we are required to recruit bilingual/ESL teachers to complete the program in our districts. Our district is not adequately funded to carry out all that is required. The necessary funding to meet all of the needs of students in BE/ESL is not available.
If the funding for NCLB was provided, BE/ESL teachers could be given sign-on bonuses and stipends to come to our district and to teach these students correctly in order to indeed ensure they are not left behind!
The correct amount of funding would pay for teachers who, in turn, would give students all the help they need to pass all of the state tests and thus show that our students will not be left behind."
ESL Teacher and District Coordinator
"The testing in Texas, and the evaluation of schools based on the test results has caused so much concern in our school that almost all resources are directed to those students who are at risk of not passing.
Very little attention is paid to those students who we assume will pass, and little attention is paid to those who we assume will not pass, despite our best efforts.
"With all the attention on the at-risk kids, we have created a kind of gravity that is pulling students down. The number of very high-achieving students is shrinking as little attention or resources are directed toward them. We need to also focus on the top students—not at the expense of the other students—in order to create an upward pull on the rest of the students."
High School Teacher