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So far, No Child Left Behind seems to have teachers and schools struggling to catch up.
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By RICHARD AMRHINE
But what do you do if you're a low-income single parent whose local school is a frightening mix of violence and dysfunction? Moving to a nice neighborhood with a nice school isn't going to happen. That's where charter schools and vouchers become the only avenues of choice. Both of those options carry tons of philosophical and logistical baggage.
And what about the school that stands out, the one where all parents want their children to go? The Bush administration suggests that limits on class size--the very reason that this hypothetical school excelled--would have to be set aside.
Finally, NCLB requires a "highly qualified" teacher in every classroom--starting in 2005 in the core subjects. Such a teacher has a bachelor's degree, full state certification, and has demonstrated competence in the subject taught. One way to achieve that is--you guessed it--by taking a test.
Is there standardization of those tests? Do they also relate to the state standards that the students must meet?
While all of this is sorted out, it remains up to parents to get their kids off to the best possible start. A young child who is read to and is encouraged to read will have a head start in school and in life. Tests will be things to conquer, not fear.
If schools had more students who really yearn to learn, schools and teachers wouldn't find themselves the scapegoats.
RICHARD AMRHINE is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.