On her blog “Off The Cuff“, My wife recently posted an entry entitled: More On The No Child Left Behind Act-What’s Your Opinion? in which she expressed serious concern over the fact that “No Child Left Behind”, while a good idea in theory, is in actual fact simply not working.  In spite of it’s name and lofty sounding goals children are in fact being left behind.

The simple fact is that in large part due to the testing this act requires and because federal funding that states need is tied to those results schools end up having to teach students how to pass the test rather than concentrate on making sure they understand the material.  This ends up with schools doing well on tests (Here in Arkansas they’re called Benchmark tests) yet in spite of this ( and I believe in large part because of NCLB and the testing and politics that goes with it.), more and more students end up graduating high school with minimal reading and comprehension skills and when questioned at random end up sounding like complete morons.

My problem comes in when this little zit called “Brian” leaves the following comment:

You obviously don’t know anything.

Not only was that not necessary, but it’s wrong.  The statements made in that posting were dead-on accurate.  Your attempt to call somebody a liar isn’t going to change the facts one bit.

The comment continues with a quote from the post:

“In our school system, teens go to high school to watch movies and play on computers. They have little homework. There is little to learn because the teachers are being paid little to nothing and they do not care as much as they used to. The curriculum is set up so that the state tests take some of the class time. For instance, math is being taught in social studies classes. Not math per se but how to take the math portion of the tests. And this is apparently all right with local officials.”

Umm, that was a lie. You criticize as if everyone is lazy. No, it is the attitude of the student that chooses the education. Thats the key to it all. If you don’t understand that then obviously your a foreign blogger who just likes to criticize the US because you have nothing to do. I found this post very rude and evidence of your ignorance.

There you go again calling my wife a liar.  I absolutely guarantee you THAT is perhaps one of the single biggest mistakes in your entire life.  All you’re accomplishing is to show your own ignorance.  The attitude of the student does play a large part, but when teachers are hamstrung by NCLB requirements and the need to teach students how to pass benchmark tests rather than simply teaching their subjects how can it be a surprise that more and more graduate from high school with less actual education than a sixth grader would have had thirty years ago?

Add to that the fact that teachers in the public school system are simply NOT paid anywhere near what they should be and you have a good understanding why teachers are composed of two groups:

A.) Those who thought they could make a difference and are now burned out and disillusioned that all they’re interested in now is getting through the day and collecting their pay.

B.) Those who teach because they have a genuine love of teaching and struggle against a failing system that doesn’t care about anything but money and numbers to satisfy federal requirements.

To those who have been patient enough to read this far I ask that you read the blog entry I’m talking about: “More On The No Child Left Behind Act-What’s Your Opinion?” and take a second to Digg it so that this topic gets the attention that it deserves.

To “Brian”, All I have left to say is “Watch who you’re calling a liar.  There are people in this world who have suffered massively for carelessly calling someone a liar.”

(Am I having an attitude problem?  You can bet your pointed head I am.)

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