Monday, January 12, 2009

Bush's Achievements, aka Another NCLB Rant

According to this Weekly Standard article, written by Fred Barnes, George Bush's presidency was marked by several successes. The only one I even saw among them:

"His fifth success was No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the education reform
bill cosponsored by America's most prominent liberal Democratic senator Edward
Kennedy. The teachers' unions, school boards, the education establishment,
conservatives adamant about local control of schools--they all loathed the
measure and still do. It requires two things they ardently oppose, mandatory
testing and accountability.

Kennedy later turned against NCLB, saying Bush is shortchanging the
program. In truth, federal education spending is at record levels. Another
complaint is that it forces teachers to "teach to the test." The tests are on
math and reading. They are tests worth teaching to."

Uh, no. First of all, sir, how would you know that they are tests worth teaching to? Have you ever looked at one of them? Each state has their own tests, and there are tests for each grade level. So, fifty states times an average let's say of eight testing levels per state, with tests for both math and reading (or, as we like to call it in the educational field, language arts), that's 800 tests. I wonder how many you have even seen.

Secondly, federal spending is at record levels but the mandates placed on schools is greater than those levels. Where is that money coming from, sir? When you mandate programs that cost $34.3 billion in 2005, but fund it with $24.9 billion, where is the extra $9.4 billion coming from? Existing programs, which had to be cut.

It's not testing and accountability we teachers loathe. It's politicians and magazine reporters who can't subtract whole numbers and write out of complete and utter ignorance of their subject matter.


Big D said...

It's kind of like my can either manage to the audit, or do your job everyday and raise the bar until you are audit passing-worthy. If you manage to the audit, you only focus on the highlights and can't take care of customers properly on a regular basis. If you continually raise the bar and are ready everyday for an audit, you're ready for our customers everyday.

Besides, it's only one indication of whether you are doing your job properly or not - not the only factor to determine that!

Jeff said...

I've been on a righteous anti-Bush rant for a few days now, so let me continue...

The author of this article you cite forgot the quotation marks around the word "successes" and "achievements". The man has never succeeded at anything, ever. He has however brought this country to its knees morally, financially, and in terms of respect from the world. To call that a success would be an insult to the English language (even more so than Bush attempting to use it). I watched his farewell speech last night for probably 30 seconds before I became so furious I had to leave the room. The man has no business even uttering the name of a soldier wounded or killed in Iraq; it is an unforgivable insult to them and their families to use their stories or memories to somehow prove his actions were worthwhile. The actions of those in the military are honorable, his are indisputably not. I will forever associate the number 4226 with George W. Bush. It is the number of our troops that he killed because, "After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad."(George W. Bush, Sept. 27th, 2002)

For the life of me, I can not fathom how this man could possibly justify his decisions in a way that would ever be accepted. I can't remember a single decision that he made that I could justify.