Education Week - March 25, 2015 - (Page 26)

LETTERS to the EDITOR Annual Testing Shackles Schools and Students To the Editor: The No Child Left Behind Act, which mandated annual standardized testing in U.S. public schools, states that National Assessment of Educational Progress scores will be used to evaluate its effectiveness. My organization's analysis of naep results, however, shows that overall student achievement was rising faster before nclb went into effect. The rate of score gains for African-Americans, Englishlanguage learners, and students with disabilities generally slowed under nclb. These results refute claims by defenders of the test-every-kidevery-year status quo, who argue that nclb's annual-exam mandate helps public schools ("Why Annual State Testing Matters," Commentary, Feb. 18, 2015). Nclb's failure to raise scores on independent standardized exams is significant in light of widespread curriculum-narrowing resulting from the need for classroom time for test preparation. Other serious problems, such as pushing low scorers out of school and widespread cheating, are also part of nclb's legacy. Annual testing has flunked out based on its own standards. Congress must limit federal testing requirements to one grade each in elementary, middle, and high school, as in the pre-No Child Left Behind era. There is no justification for continuing to shackle schools with every-grade testing. Robert A. Schaeffer Public Education Director National Center for Fair & Open Testing Boston, Mass. 'Ducktails' Discipline: Disrespect Writ Large To the Editor: All teachers have experienced the task of getting students to behave while walking down the hall. Many find themselves confronting students who are talking and can't keep their hands to themselves. In response, many schools have adopted policies designed to remediate this issue. Yet there are a few schools that take this task to extremes-they force their students to walk in "ducktails," where the children place their hands behind their backs so that each student creates an outline similar to a duck's tail. The students must then "duck walk" down the hall. Many people find this offensive, especially when the practice occurs in highpoverty areas, where a majority of students are people of color, because it is reminiscent of prison culture ("Too Much Discipline Hurts Majority-Minority Schools," Commentary, Jan. 28, 2015). For schools, the effects on students who are forced to ONLINE OPINION BLOGS Passionate teachers are critical to boosting student engagement, writes popular author Gregg Levoy. Read his blog post, "The Impact of Passion and Dispassion on Living, Leading, Teaching, and Learning," on the Leadership 360 blog. In the Learning Deeply guest post "Bad at Math? It's Unacceptable," 6th grade math and science teacher Donna LeFever argues that the Common Core State Standards for math are inaccessible. | WEB COMMENT | "The most successful administrators-the ones who accomplish the most and don't burn out-have an enormous sense of responsibility, but a very small need for control." - CPE, responding to the Bridging Differences blog post "What Are School Leaders' Most Important Qualities?" | CONNECT | edweekcomm @EdweekComm google+ 26 | EDUCATION WEEK | March 25, 2015 | instagram TEACHER VOICES On the Teaching Toward Tomorrow blog, digital-learning coordinator Jennie Magiera profiles inspiring women in education. In her second installment, she interviews Rafranz Davis, an instructional-technology specialist who advocates using technology to empower diverse students and break barriers. 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It takes away the human dignity of a K-5 student by indicating that he or she cannot be trusted to walk down the hall appropriately, and it restricts freedom without just cause. Simply put, these students must follow orders similar to those given in prisons. The most damaging lesson educators can teach students is that their actions cannot change their situations or circumstances. Anthony M. Rodriguez Assistant Professor Elementary and Special Education Providence College Providence, R.I. COMMENTARY POLICY Education Week takes no editorial positions, but publishes opinion essays and letters from outside contributors in its Commentary section. For information about submitting an essay or letter for review, visit PRESIDENT & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Virginia B. Edwards EXECUTIVE EDITOR Gregory Chronister MANAGING EDITOR Kathleen Kennedy Manzo ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITORS Mark W. Bomster, Kevin C. Bushweller, Lesli A. 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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 25, 2015

Education Week - March 25, 2015
Civics Tests for Diplomas Gain Traction
For Education Next, Views With An Edge
Employers Integral To Career Studies
Experience Seen as Boost For Teachers
Elite Private Schools Tackle Ed Tech
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Eligibility Rules Fuel Growth Of Indiana’s Voucher Program
States Should Play Role in Fostering Engagement, Report Says
Teacher-Leadership Movement Gets Boost From Ed. Dept.
Blogs of the Week
Nonprofits Link Businesses To Career-Tech Programs
At Beaver Country Day, Investing In Innovation
Special Education Task Force Urges Overhaul for California
Gov. Cuomo’s Budget Sparks Backlash in N.Y.
Fight Looms on Kansas Plan To Fund K-12 Via Block Grants
Blogs of the Week
Why School Policies Need to Be Fine-Tuned
Which ‘Common Core’ Are We Talking About?
What Will Be the Impact of the Assessments?
More Educator Voices on Common-Core Implementation
Overcoming ‘Initiative Fatigue’
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Breaking the Code of the Common Core

Education Week - March 25, 2015