Lately I've been wondering about the impact that the past 4 ½ plus years may have had on us as a community.
Powerlessness was forced upon us in June 2003. Babies who weren’t born when it happened have learned how to crawl, talk, use the potty and will soon be starting kindergarten! It’s been a long time since the state-run regime has been shutting us out, preventing us from engaging in a meaningful way with our own school district.
I wonder how much have we gone into hibernation-mode, and how easily will we be able to come out? I suspect that important networks have dissolved during this time.
When Oaklanders are given the opportunity to interact with OUSD once again, what will it look like? If local control is given back within the next year or so, how will the community tolerate the new school board’s missteps as it finds its way?
The timing is such that the members will be immediately thrown into the lion’s den to deal with the damage caused by the upcoming, probable drastic cuts to the state’s education budget. How much will empathy and cooperation suffer? It’s probably hard to be benevolent to others when one's own constituents are feeling chronically deprived.
And since the end of the current No Child Left Behind law is nowhere in sight, how much more damage will it do to our district, and to our schools?
In case you don’t know, it was supposed to be reauthorized, revised, or abolished last year. Unfortunately, the Senate and House education committees couldn’t agree about what to do, so no decision was made. This destructive law will remain in effect until they can come to an agreement. Then, their new proposal will still have to make it through the Congressional approval hoops.
The problem is that during an election year and in a new president’s first year, not much progress is ever made in Congress. I read one article speculating that it wouldn’t be out of the question for NCLB, as it currently stands, to be in operation until 2010!
Now, here’s an interesting article:
Published in Education Policy Analysis Archives, January 2008
“A new study by researchers at
“The study finds that high-stakes test-based accountability leads not to equitable educational possibilities for youth, but to avoidable losses of thousands of youth from the schools. These losses occur not as administrators cheat or fail to comply, but as they comply with the system as it was designed: that is, in the production of rising test scores for their schools. The study shows that as schools came under the accountability system, which uses test scores to rate schools and reward or discipline principals, large numbers of students left the school system. The exit of low-achieving students created the appearance of rising test scores and of narrowing the achievement gap between white and minority students, thus increasing schools’ ratings.”
Avoidable Losses: High-Stakes Accountability and the Dropout Crisis by L. M. McNeil, E. Coppola, J. Radigan, J. Vasquez Heilig is available at http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v16n3/.