|Volume I, Number 5, May, 2003|
|What can you do to change this law before it does great damage to the schools and children in your state and town?
A List of ESEA (NCLB) Amendments
1. Fund social programs that impact school readiness so that all children actually enter school ready to learn as the first President Bush promised long ago.
2. Fund capacity building (enhanced teaching and learning) in districts and districts for several years before engaging in punishing labels and reckless choice provisions. Capacity building might mean providing hundreds of hours of training in effective reading strategies, for example. But it does not mean training everybody in a single highly scripted program endorsed by the administration for pseudo-scientific reasons.
3. Devote public money to truly public schools. Be careful not to divert funds to reckless experiments or diploma mills.
4. Fund enough construction of new schools within public systems so parental choice is real.
5. Support informed school choice within public systems.
6. Emphasize rewards and incentives rather than sanctions.
7. Hold all publicly funded schools to standards for performance and quality, whether actually private, charter or truly public. Be careful about simplistic notions of high stakes testing.
8. Fund recruitment and preparation of effective teachers and aides from all racial and economic groups to close the gap between current staffing levels and what is desirable.
9. End the insulting, broad brush assaults on teachers and administrators struggling against difficult challenges.
10. Capitalize on the good research conducted to discover what works best in schools and avoid simplistic panaceas and platitudes imported from the world of business and medicine.
11. Enrich the options available to all children. Forswear tightly scripted, robotic programs and the fast food approaches to school improvement.
12. Build school improvement on a richly defined foundation of alternatives and strategies.
13. Eliminate Trojan horses, hidden agendas and shameful politics from ESEA.
14. Stop using Madison Avenue techniques to hide the harsh realities of so-called compassionate conservatism.