Q: No Child Left Behind is positive in the sense that it
gives the perception of a minimum standard that
school systems have to meet. Accountability. Fed
funding might not be as much as desired but if the
DOE determines the cost of compliance is too high
compared to all federal funding the school system
receives, it can always opt out, right?
A:But this is compliance to a federal requirement. The feds should supply the monies to meet their requirement, or at least, they should be flexible if it looks like compliance costs too much for the state. Time will tell. There's now a new head of this Fed dept. But beyond that, the standards are not meant to be minimums. They are just that: a standard-- what a student is expected to have learned at a certain grade level. It causes special problems because of our diverse student population in Hawaii. Already it seems there is a need for reform. IIRC remember seeing a TV report on an alternative school program for a GED degree. The schools in Texas have an easy time getting hi school students into this program. And it also helps that they then don't have to account for these failing students. The GED program originally being an adult ed program doesn't keep close track of its students. So when students drop out or fail to register for the GED, nothing is reported to the Feds on their failures in the GED program. I guess the loophole may be that the fed funding (if any) for the GED program is not from No-Child funding. IIRC, the percentage of students passing the test may increase by five points, but the total number of students graduating or being promoted in grade decreases. In the TV show, administrators expressed surprise that the students in the GED program were not being supervised. It's just not a convincing lie. Perhaps the dropout rate should be also factored into the No-Child act. For example, if this year they expect 5% improvement or 5 students out of 100, then the drop out rate can be no higher than 1% or 1 student out of 100. I would prefer that they move the 5 failing students into an alternative program within the school so they can still be counted, rather than move the five into a GED program and out of the system. At least the only legitimate dropout rate accepted should be to a program as rigorous as the school program. One of the arguments mentioned on TV, IIRC was the idea, that the kids could work and earn some bucks for more spending money while attending GED classes. In Hawaii, that would mean that at 20 hours they could be paying for their own health insurance. The kids like the idea and sign up. But most do not get jobs or attend GED classes. In Europe, they might be put in apprenticeship programs-- like working as an apprentice cook or baker (slave labor). But we have no such things for high school students in Hawaii. Perhaps, the DOE should start thinking about (and funding) this. Currently, IIRC apprenticeship programs are handled by the University through the community colleges in coordination with employers and the unions.
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