It was 2002 when President George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind into Law. By 2005, some states were willing to give up federal Title 1 funding rather than stick with the program.
Now that we’ve left NCLB behind, local educators are praising the shift. NCLB required “teaching to the test.” That is, every school was moving toward having every child learn to read, write and understand mathematics at a certain level. They didn’t all have to be Merit Scholars, but they all needed to pass a certain test – at least that was the goal.
The Bush Administration argued that “teaching to the test” was still teaching. If enough children could pass the big test, the district would make “adequate yearly progress” toward of goal of 100 percent.
At Thursday’s school board meeting, Park Elementary School Principal Phil Heeke commented on the new methods being implemented at his school, and other Great Bend schools. One program, in its second year, is called Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs. There’s also the Multi-Tier System of Support (MTSS) and AIMSweb testing. In fact, there are more new programs than Heeke had time to mention in a luncheon meeting.
One comment Heeke made really stands out: “We really don’t want any student ever left behind.”
Superintendent Brad Reed said all of the changes taking place are for a reason, not just for the sake of change. In the future, Great Bend should have the data to show that students – all students – were able to move forward.