Lagging Black and Latino Students Pressurizing Politics of No Child Left Behind.
By Jim Allen, Editor, Nu Vote Reach and DC Politics Examiner.com
The Virginia State Board of Education is doing its level best to deal with some of the unrealistic mandates of the President George W. Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) ACT of 2001; intended to improve the educational achievement metrics of students and teachers in K-12 US public school systems. NCLB pushes states to compete for Department of Education funding, rather than automatically receiving it based on a formula; and the controversial “teach-to-the-test” model highlighted by NCLB has not resulted in a marked improvement across all demographics in test scores and many stakeholders are unsettled over the whole matter.
Teaching to the test essentially evaluates so-called “value-added” (VA) teachers based on their students’ standardized test scores. In a study by Harvard and Columbia University scholars, published in January 2012, “The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Students’ Outcomes in Adulthood,” the researchers track one million children from a large urban school district from 4th grade through to adulthood.
The study asks, ‘does VA accurately measure teachers’ impacts on scores or does it wrongly penalize teachers who may routinely work with lower achieving students?’ They also analyzed VA teachers’ impacts on students’ long-term outcomes.
“We find that when a high VA teacher joins a school, test scores rise immediately in the grade taught by that teacher; when a high VA teacher leaves, test scores fall,” wrote the researchers. …