Monday, March 15, 2010

On to the Next Thing

I take it as a pretty good sign for health care reform that President Obama is starting to move on to other major projects - notably strengthening financial regulations and improving the No Child Left Behind law. Both are in need of a lot of help.

My favorite of the new provisions being considered for NCLB is to focus less on measuring the kids who are proficient at grade level and more on getting kids to make progress from wherever they started. This makes sense to me because that's something over which the school actually has control (at least relatively speaking). The schools take whoever comes to them, regardless of whether or not they're at grade level. It just makes sense to me to measure schools and school quality by how far they advance children, not just who's able to get past the line of proficiency. When we do it the old way, schools doing great work with difficult populations are rewarded less than schools doing mediocre work with easier populations. That doesn't make sense to me and I'm glad to see that I'm not alone.

Also, as a former social studies teacher, I'm glad to see that states may be expanding their testing regime beyond reading and math. Hopefully an expansion there will lead to less narrowing of curriculum in the name of test prep and adequate yearly progress.

As with everything, the devil is always in the details so I'm not going to offer a final assessment just yet. But from what I'm seeing now, they're on the right track with this one.

No comments: