Friday, February 19, 2010

NCLB and ELLs--Success or Dismal Failure?

President Obama is thinking about revising the original NCLB legislation. As a teacher of ELLs, a CTEL trainer, professional development presenter, university adjunct online and onsite, I wonder if it is worth the time and effort. I find more teachers teaching to the test with less time available for classroom instruction. What do you feel about NCLB--keep it or chuck it or some mix of the two?


  1. Ack! I find that the tests required by NCLB interfere with education. Teachers spend so much time and energy teaching to the test and maintaining pacing schedules that they can't conceive of doing anything else. So, the ELLs and other differently-abled learners get left in the dust. Then when these folks bring the AYP and AIP scores down, they and their teachers are often blamed.

    Moreover, the punishment that some excellent teachers have to suffer from is inhumane, cruel and unusual punishment. Meanwhile parents are not taken to task at all. Students suffer because electives are often taken away including PE. How are we going to fight childhood obesity if the kids are sitting 6 periods a day in math and English and get no PE?

    I have no problem with standards and improving instruction, etc.; the problem is how we measure growth and success. A snapshot summative test doesn't tell us much at all. We need a constellation of measures and NCLB doesn't address that. We also need adequate professional development including money to go to professional conferences. The last one I went to, NABE, was terribly attended and internet access cost $125/day! Needless to say, I canceled my presentation which had requested a computer lab. Moreover presenters got no break off the registration, which was really expensive. Add in airfare, hotel and meals and you have a month's salary put out for very little return. However, the Crowne Plaza was terrific. It was the cheapest of the big hotels and gave us lots of freebies including making copies, having a printer available as well as computers and free wifi.

    Last year's CATESOL - the CA affiliate of TESOL was even more dismal. This year they are charging $12.95 a person for internet access in a lab setting so I am canceling my presentation.

    We're keeping our fingers crossed for CABE. Presenters get free registration and I am getting a full lab with internet access. I just hope people show up.


  2. It is Saturday morning, and I am at an all day workshop on boosting academic performance of ELLs. I know it sounds crazy to be up at this hour on a Saturday, but many ELLs are drowning. Traditional approaches are not working. The old tried and true approaches are falling short.

    A growing cadre of think tank educators meet annually at conferences around the state to share the latest techniques that have produced positive results. I am always willing to re-evaluate what I am doing in a class to see how I can improve it, if possible, or toss it if if proves to be ineffective. Not all educators follow me here.

    I will be back on later with a URL link to all the handouts that will be given out at the Saturday conference with comments on what I want to try and why.