My First Experience with NCLB and Why I am Fearful of Common Core
Guest Post by Mila Wood
The first time I remember having to come to the realization that public school could be dangerous to society as a whole was when my now Junior in high school was in fourth grade. I had always been an active parent, volunteering lots of time for the classes my kids were in. I went on every field trip, and brought extra supplies when they needed, and signed up with excitement for every class project that involved frosting or glitter. But, one day I happened to be in my sons fourth grade class correcting spelling tests. Literally half of the papers I graded only had 10 words, while the other half had the usual 25. After I finished grading, I asked the teacher why that was. She explained that it was NCLB, and that they just altered ( I call it dumbing down) the reuirements for the kids that couldn’t do the whole, long list. She then handed me the sliding scale used to put the actual letter grade on top of the paper. You can imagine my surprise when I realized that the kids who only had 10 words were still able to get the same letter grade of “A”, if they got all 10 correct. There was absolutely nothing taken off the grade to account for doing less than half the words!!!! When I asked the teacher about that, she said that it worked out great for the teachers, because they were not “dinged” on their performance or pay due to holding anyone back. wow.
That was my first real experience with NCLB, and when I am asked why I was NOT more vocal in 2001 when it was implemented, I simply say; I had a four year old, and a two year old at home, I did not go back to work, and I spent my days coloring, digging in the dirt, threading beads, collecting bugs, reading to my kids and making sure they were safe, napped with regularity, and had lots of opportunity to play with friends and family. Basically, I was at home, doing my best as a mom. Looking back, I wish I would have made more of an effort to fight back, but, also in retrospect, I had NO internet, and lived in a very rural setting. PLUS, I trusted my teachers and administrators would never stay silent on such a seemingly asinine program. Where were those professionals? Why were they not raising a stink? job security?
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