Just the facts – The Context of NCLB Federal government involvement in schools starts with 1965 ESEA Fears of federal intervention weakened its role in decentralized system Reauthorized every 6-7 years, NCLB latest reauth. Federal expenditure always less than 10% of the total States moved towards “standards-based reform” in the 1990s 1994 ESEA set the framework for NCLB 2001 ESEA (NCLB) introduced greater accountability Federal law builds on top of state laws – states set standards and tests, feds mandate pace of improvement and consequences. NCLB passes with bipartisan support
What Motivated NCLB? Broader context: International economic competition, civil rights Need to move from “inputs” to “outputs” Sense that schools need to try harder, focus more:
What Motivated NCLB? Sense that schools need to try harder, focus more: First, this book and many of the other readings (Elmore, Meier) operate with the assumption that teachers and administrators are operating at their maximum capacity. This was absolutely untrue at my school. I’ll admit that our teachers (including myself) would surely benefit from better professional development or guided collaboration. However, regularly showing non- academic movies, effortlessly relying on horribly written book lessons/assessments, and spending no time building classroom culture are surely inexcusable. If you teach, you should know how to do these things. If you don’t do them, you should be fired. As is the motto of NCLB and standards era – no excuses. Our kids deserve better. Jessica Tucker Key political cleavage: Not left vs. right, but schools vs. outsiders
Just the facts – NCLB the law States must test students annually in grade 3-8 in reading and math, once in high school (starting in 07-08, 3 tests in science as well, ) Tests must be aligned with state standards States must gradually move students towards proficiency so that all are proficient by 2014 To make AYP, students, and all subgroups of students, must have an ever-raising bar hitting proficiency + attendance. Subgroups include race, economic-disadvantage, english language learners, and special education Failure to make AYP two years in a row kicks in accumulating sanctions (year 1 – student transfer, year 2- supplemental services; year 3 – corrective action; years 4-5 (restructuring).
Just the facts – Key conceptual points Complex inter-governmental policy Feds set the context, states set the standards, districts provide the means AYP creates lots of subgroups Schools see it as unfair that they can be brought down by failure of a subgroup Special education students included States set the bar (national standards?) States choose the tests and the definitions of proficiency. Which means that states can look better by lowering the bar. No measure of individual progress The requirement for annual progress means that this year’s 3rd graders are compared to next year’s 3rd graders. Not tracking the improvement of individual students.
Just the facts – Highly qualified teachers To be highly qualified under NCLB, you must (middle and high): Have a bachelors Full state certification Know the subject you teach, which is shown by: Degree in the subject matter (bachelors, equivalent in grad work, or graduate degree) Test in the subject matter State determined uniform standards (for existing teachers) Challenges have been Rural areas (teaching in multiple subjects) Science and math
Just the facts – Test Scores State test scores are clearly mostly up See CEP report: 10 big effects of NCLB in class sessions tab Critics see teaching to the test as rampant NAEP scores -- Progress in math, 4 th grade reading, not 8 th grade reading Math http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/ltt_2008/ltt0002.asp?subtab_id=Tab_1 &tab_id=tab1#chart http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/ltt_2008/ltt0002.asp?subtab_id=Tab_2 &tab_id=tab1#charthttp://www.nationsreportcard.gov/ltt_2008/ltt0002.asp?subtab_id=Tab_2 &tab_id=tab1#chart Reading http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/ltt_2008/ltt0003.asp http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/ltt_2008/ltt0003.asp?subtab_id=Tab_2 &tab_id=tab1#chart
Interpreting Test Scores Detractors emphasize Little movement in reading at 8th grade Less gains as time has gone on and NCLB really kicked in Persistence of large gaps http://nationsreportcard.gov/math_2007/m0009.asp?tab_id=t ab2&subtab_id=Tab_3#charthttp://nationsreportcard.gov/math_2007/m0009.asp?tab_id=t ab2&subtab_id=Tab_3#chart Do no harm -- Unintended consequences (see Tested) Proponents emphasize Progress in scores on NAEP, particularly in math Say that earlier gains also attributable to “standards” What was it like before?
Just the facts – Other aspects of schooling More time on reading and math, less on social studies 71% of districts reducing time in other subjects More teachers meeting highly qualified definitions (up to 88%) Problems persist in special ed, high school math and science, rural areas Other provisions Few students using choice option (2%) Few students using tutoring option (20%)
Temperature Check Do you support NCLB? Why? Why not?
Reasons to Support NCLB Provides concrete measurements of the performance of all schools Provides continuing pressure for improvement on the achievement gap Schools should be accountable for results States, districts, schools, have not produced results in the past, not worthy of trust or discretion
Five Critiques of NCLB Inside the Beltway Policy Talk The Technical Critique The Federalism Critique Critiques from the Field The Distrust Critique -- Meier The Capacity Building Critique -- Elmore With International Perspective The Sectoral Critique -- Mehta
Technical Critiques of NCLB Problems 1. Growth vs. absolute standards 2. “Bubble kids” vs. the moving the whole distribution 3. Too many subgroups 4. Bad tests Solutions 1. Growth models 2. Credit for moving the curve 3. Forgiveness on some subgroups 4. Better assessments
Federalism Critiques of NCLB Problems States engaged in “race to the bottom” States set cut scores Challenge: resistance to national standards Solutions Common core standards Common core assessments Both funded and incentivized through RTTT
Distrust is the Problem Problems Teachers not trusted to do the work; response is highly prescriptive problematic policies, which generate perverse incentives. Too often, teachers have to choose between two options: comply with the authorities or engage in subversive behavior for your kids. When word walls, bulletin boards, and even daily lessons become so highly regulated, teachers lose ownership over their work and the students suffer. Rather than assuming that teachers are inept and incompetent, which I feel is an underlying premise of many policies, teachers should be allowed and encouraged to develop their professional expertise and autonomy. -- Shannon Fox
Distrust is the Problem Solutions Charter schools, tight-loose visions of management Networked models of reform
Lack of Capacity is the Problem Problems Teachers can’t do what they don’t know how to do External accountability without internal accountability generates perverse consequences Solutions Reciprocal accountability: greater external coaching and support along with accountabiliity Recognition that progress comes in fits and spurts Invest in school leadership
The Pyramid is Upside Down The current pyramid 1 Congress 50 States 15,000 districts 100,000 schools 3,000,000 teachers Logic: Implementation + accountability
The Inverted Pyramid 1 Congress 50 States 15,000 districts 100,000 schools 3,000,000 teachers Logic: Support driven by needs of practice
From Command and Control to Knowledge Driven Profession 1. Knowledge driven by practice – Teachers as knowledge workers 2. Improve human capital 3. Use of data and continuous improvement at the site level 4. Accountability system driven by the previous three This is the future: Finland and also the leading charter networks See Jal Mehta, “Inverting the Pyramid of School Reform,” Harvard Ed Letter, November/December 2010