Friday, April 21, 2006

Real critiques of NCLB; CA State Board of Education screws English learners [again]

Graphics from Rethinking Schools
Shari L's An Old Soul blog provides an excellent response to latest critiques of the NCLB:

On NCLB: AP outraged in all the wrong places
AP sure knows how to tap into NCLB outrage alright but it's outrage in all the wrong places. I think this is a seriously covert article pushing an agenda, and, hint, it's not the progressive one, folks. If you don't question their premise, boy, it's easy to fall for their propaganda. And, look, even Alternet takes the bait, hook, line and sinker.
See also: An Old Soul or NCLB =Contractors profit and AP sets it up for Spellings to come in and save the day ; Angela Valenzuela's Eductional Equity Blog from Texas ; For general progressive critiques of NCLB see Rethinking Schools ; Harold Berlak's Manual on NCLB & High Stakes Testing; or Kathy Emery's Education and Democracy website.
Despite strong advocacy from immigrant communities, bilingual education advocates and civil rights groups, the California State Board of Education has done it again - screwing English learners and immigrant students throughout the state. See Duane Campbell's Choosing Democracy Blog.
In its decision yesterday to adopt mainstream criteria for materials for Reading/Language Arts/English Language Development, the state board of education missed an historic opportunity to demonstrate true and visionary leadership by amending and adopting criteria for new reading textbooks to address low test scores and narrow the achievement gap for English learners.
Critics of the current options for schools - including Assemblywomen Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, and Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles - wanted the board to also let schools use textbooks they said would help non-English speakers with vocabulary while learning basic subject matter.
The new textbooks could have provided California’s 1.6 million English learners with much better materials to prepare them for the rigorous tests of Reading/Language Arts and English proficiency.

Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, project manager for multilingual curriculum at the LA County Office of Education, said her group and others who favored change were shut out of talks."The curriculum that's going to be sustained for the next eight years ... will have the same lessons, same text, same teachers guide, no matter who sits in front of the teacher," she said.

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