Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Problem With Education

I never thought a Democrat, much less the Speaker of the House, would vote for a re-authorization of the disastrous No Child Left Behind Act.

But guess what? Speaker Pelosi is co-author of a bill that would do just that. And, not only re-authorize it, but MAKE IT WORSE.

Somehow, I didn't think it could be made worse, but after reading California Teachers Association website, I am scared. Scared of the Democrats who are going to cave under pressure to be "tough on education" in an election year.

Listen, my sister is a teacher, so perhaps I am a bit biased. But she has a Master's in Education, and works for a school district in which 95% of the student body are native Spanish speakers/Limited English Proficiency, where 99% of the students qualify for the federal lunch program, and where gangs and violence are prevalent in the community. One of her students is currently homeless and living in a shelter, and he is gifted as well.

But yet, this new-and-unimproved version of NCLB would create an even harsher law, to add to the still unfunded currrent law. Their pay would become merit pay based on student test performance. It would turn failing schools (of which all are doomed to fail, because they want 100% compliancy with standards, and since when can you get hundreds of students to be 100% at ANYTHING?) into charter schools. It would creat a federally controlled school system and undermine local and state rights.

It would drive dedicated, educated, and talented teachers such as my sister right out of the neighborhoods that need them most. And really, would any of you want your pay to be based on students who may or may not be even motivated to take a bunch of tests? Who would be left to teach?

I strongly urge any person concerned with the current sad state of education to take action. Now. They are trying to sneak the bill in, because they know of the large opposition against NCLB.

I am disappointed to be a Democrat. I mean that truly.

Here's what you can do:

Go to the California Teacher's Association website to learn more about the proposed bill.

Go to the National Education Association website for a link to find your representatives and email them.

If you live in Speaker Pelosi or co-author George Miller's district, here is a link to send them a message.

Or, go here to get the phone numbers to call Speaker Pelosi and George Miller's offices directly, or call your Congressperson from the CTA Hotline.

Action is necessary. It needs to be quick. I am pleading with you to make your government responsive to the demands of its constituents. Pass this on to everyone you know who cares about the future of our children's education.

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