Navigating the No Child Left Behind Act
This Week's Tips
Learn More about How NCLB Affects Teachers (Monday)
Go online and learn what you can about the No Child Left Behind Act. There are numerous Web sites, including Teaching Today, that provide easy-to-read summaries of the law. The law greatly affects all public school teachers in the United States. Take the time to learn how it affects you.
Find Out Your School’s Performance Rank (Tuesday)
Ask your principal how your school is ranked by the Department of Education. Schools can be rated as either satisfactory or in need of improvement, based on the progress they make toward state-defined standards-based achievement. Schools that do not initially achieve the minimum state requirements for reading and math must set goals for improvement. If your class has not met the minimum state standard for reading or mathematics, find out which areas need improvement and what the goal is for the upcoming year. Work with other teachers and administrators to define a plan for helping students improve their learning.
Obtain Your State Standards (Wednesday)
Go online or get a print copy of the state standards your students must learn by the end of the year.
Standards are a key provision of NCLB legislation. Most states now post the standards, by grade and subject, online at the state department of education web site
. Each state must test all children in grades 3-12 in reading and mathematics (science will be added in 2007). Schools and districts are held accountable for students meeting minimum proficiency levels on the tests. By integrating a standards-based approach into your planning, you can help your students meet the achievement standards that define the performance of your school.
Prepare Students for High Stakes Tests (Thursday)
Make time to prepare your students for the high stakes tests in reading and math. These one-time measures will determine whether your school is defined by the Department of Education as satisfactory or in need of improvement. It may also affect how much flexibility you have, as a teacher, with regards to instruction in your class. Schools, and classrooms, that do meet expectations are more likely to be forced into a lock-step approach that is tightly focused on improving performance on the high stakes tests.
Give Feedback to the Department of Education (Friday)
Participate in the dialogue that the department of education has established with public school teachers.
The government is interested in hearing from teachers about their concerns. Take the time to participate either online at Teacher to Teacher
or in one of the department-sponsored workshops. Your input could help to shape the next wave of reforms.