Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Democrats on NCLB.

Comments from last week's conference of the National Education Association, lifted from EdWeek and the NEA web site: www.nea.org, where video clips are also available. All the Democrats running for president seem to have figured out that testing isn't too popular these days. They offer some nice sound-bites. Of course, what they would do about NCLB remains a little vague.
Senator Hillary Clinton:
“We need a new approach, one that is balanced—that puts learning, not memorizing and testing, front and center in American education again. … It’s time that we start supporting educators and quit pointing fingers. We should reward teachers when schools show achievement gains. We can’t do this unless we finally fix what is wrong with No Child Left Behind.”

“Our children are getting good at filling in those little bubbles. But how much creativity is being left behind? How much passion for learning is being left behind? … The test is becoming the curriculum when it should be the other way around.”

Senator Barack Obama:
No Child Left Behind is “one of the emptiest slogans in the history of American politics. Left the money behind when they passed No Child Left Behind. Left the common sense behind.”

Senator John Edwards:
“A test does not tell us what we need to do help our children to learn. A test does not prepare our teachers, a test does not give us the information we need to make our public schools better. … How long is it going to take us to figure out you can’t educate kids by testing them to death?”

Senator Chris Dodd:
“Learning is not filling in the bubbles. It is about connecting the dots.”

Gov. Bill Richardson:
“This is unfair and this is crazy. It’s got to stop. [NCLB] can be improved, it must be improved and when I’m elected it will be improved or it will be abolished. … If a school isn’t doing well, we should help that school, not hurt it.”

“Our nation’s school reform has made our schools look more like reform schools with all the mindless testing and bureaucratic regulations.”

Senator Joe Biden:
“You cannot build a new economy by having our children constantly fill out bubbles. You have to free [students’] minds.”

Dennis Kucinich:
“Yes, we need to make sure children can read, but we do not want to defeat the learning experience and make it all about testing, because then all you have is a generation of test takers, not a generation of visionaries ready to lead the nation forward.”
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