Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lots of Children Left Behind

Assessment Results?

Photo & Text Copyright 2008 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.

The current class of graduating high school seniors is the first to face the added requirement of passing the state's standardized achievement test in order to graduate. As in other states, the Washington Assesment of Student Learning, commonly called the WASL (pronounced WA-sul), has been highly controversial. The math section was so flawed that the governor and state legislature eliminated it from the graduation requirement. If students fail the reading and writing portions of the 10th grade test, they may retake the test during 11th and 12th grades. Notices went out this week to 5572 students who will not be graduating with their 2008 class in two weeks, even if they have successfully completed their courses and met all other graduation requirements. These are real individuals' lives. The full repercussion this will have on them and their families remains to be seen. My modest proposal for many years has been that the president of the United States and every member of congress who voted in favor of his "No Child Left Behind" legislation six years ago take and pass all portions of the WASL in order to keep his/her job. I don't think it is necessarily the children who are slow. JMHO, your mileage may vary.

12 comments:

Bibi said...

I'm with you on this one about those-in-power having to past some sort of competency tests. On the other hand though, many students graduate American schools with minimal knowledge, which is a shame. The reasons are many, and I think there should be some sort of competency exam, like the French baccalaureate, for example, or the IBO offerings some international schools offer.

TOG said...

The sign should read 'careful, fast children'.

Celine said...

What a great photo to illustrate your point about No Child Left Behind. I agree with you completely. That legislation certainly slows children's lives in so many ways. I hope whomever wins the election in November repeals it immediately.

Marcel said...

I agree with you 100%.

I understand that many of our State Law Makers took and failed the test.

Jackie said...

The text isn't at all what I expected from the picture after I saw it in the portal! It does enrage me how these legislators sit in their offices stroking their chins and prescribing "one size fits all" so-called solutions. Grrrr.

I was going to make a smart comment about how the kid in the picture doesn't look slow. I do think it's an excellent picture to make your point!

Rachel Sarah said...

hmmmm... a serious problem without an easy solution. Even though NCLB and WASL may be proving to NOT be the answer, at least SOMEONE was willing to try SOMETHING. (capitals for emphasis only, not yelling) As a WA State Public School employee, I am full aware of the sad state of US education. It is a bankrupt system that has left us far far behind internationally - a system that must be overhauled. The yo-yo "WASL'ing" (i.e. continual postponements) has only proved the sad state we're in and further LOWERED educational standards.

Troy said...

Quality of schools is a worldwide issue. After living in Europe for three years, France and Germany face the same issues. The bigger challenge for European kids is that not only are the primary schools struggling, but so are the secondary schools. So many kids graduate from French and German collages and they are unemployable (with the exception of the top universities). I find in the US, education is hit and miss. it's generally better in private schools, but it really depends. Some public schools put private ones to shame, yet the next one in the same district will not be as strong. In the end, nothing replaces involved parents, a supportive community, and the environment to learn and grow - regardless of the school.

Ervin Vice said...

The idea of Bush taking the test in order to keep his job is moot at this point; the right moment would have been seven years ago. A monitor would have been necessary lest the president be tempted to have Karl Rove take the test for him.

Rachel Sarah said...

ah yes - parent involvement - THE key component that is sorely missing.

Chuck Pefley said...

I think it's almost guaranteed the politicians would be unemployed if they took the WASL test. Great idea. We could clean house (white and otherwise) and senate in one fell swoop! I like it!!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that Troy mentioned parent involvement. It's the one point that politicians will never raise lest they anger the voters. Personal responsibility has all but disappeared from our lives in America. If we fail, surely it is someone else's fault; the teacher's for example. What about kids who come to overcrowded schools unprepared because they receive no assistance at home. When a teacher has 45 minutes a day to teach math to a class of 32 kids, that doesn't leave much time for individual attention to the "slower" kids. Almost all kids need help and encouragement at home.

My kids attend public school, but my wife teaches at a private school. There are pros and cons to each.

Sorry for the rant.

Patrizia said...

I like what anonymnous said : "Almost all kids need help and encouragement at home.
". I think that this is the first step for everyone, also for students that don't have big problems achieving good results. This is my experience: I was good at school and I always studied by myself, but my mother was at home with me and I could talk to her about hard moments, about lazy moments, about discussions with teachers and so on. This helped me a lot, I'm sure. And the year I had some problems with Latin (I was 15 years old, a terrible age!) I asked my parents a help and I got some extra private lessons in the afternoon with a university student.