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Educator Roundtable Conference
March 17th, 2007
Georgia State University
Room: UL 220
9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Presentations and discussion
1 p.m-4:30 p.m. Presentations and discussion
This free meeting is limited to 300 people.
Here is more informatiion about the speakers.
We know that many individuals who supported NCLB believed the legislation would lead to higher quality public schools for children across the country. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Based on our research and experiences, and the research and experiences shared by thousands of others, we can clearly show how NCLB undermines high quality teaching and learning.
Join us in Atlanta and participate in a discussion with educators from across the country as we call for an end to NCLB and begin a national movement toward greater teacher autonomy, accountability, and professionalism.
A few of the many problems with NCLB:
1. Nationally, seventy-one percent of schools report Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½narrowing their curriculumÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½ to achieve improved test results, eliminating art, music, recess and physical education classes. Former Georgia educators will join us and attest to the fact that this is happening in GA classrooms.
2. Scripted programs and monotonous test preparation are producing a higher failure rate, more dropouts and fewer alternative education options. Nationally recognized scholars will join us and attest to this fact.
3. The poorer the school, the more pervasive and debilitating are these effects, particularly in districts of color where so much culture is embodied in the arts and drop-outs create issues beyond school. Furthermore, while many children in these schools can pass minimum competency tests, many cannot write and have no understanding or appreciation for their history. Current Georgia educators will join us in Atlanta and attest to this fact.
4. There is no connection between the low-level skills and abilities of test taking and what students will need in college or the larger world of work. Higher order thinking skills--collaborative people skills, creativity, critical thinking--ones essential for life in the world of work, are being ignored. Internationally recognized scholars will join us in Atlanta and attest to this fact.
5. The much discussed Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½achievement gapÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½ has not closed under NCLB, and tests scores are generally flat across the board. It is our contention that we cannot test the "achievement gap" away, and that our country must begin to examine other "gaps." These include the healthcare gap, the homeowner gap, and the children living below the poverty line gap.
6. We are losing our best educational asset as more and more teachers decide to quit or retire early due to a narrow focus on test scores at the expense of creative instruction and inspired curriculum. We have documented this across the country and will share these stories in Atlanta.
7. The main beneficiary of NCLB has been corporate testing and publishing companies, as recently reported by the AJC, who continue to reap large profits at state expense, often through the sales of materials or the provision of services that donÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½t lead to improved growth or development. Internationally recognized scholars will join us in Atlanta and attest to this fact, specifically critiquing the $200,000,000 Georgia will pay to implement Reading First over the next six years.
Looking elsewhere to solve perceived problems in oneÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s community is an abdication of oneÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s personal responsibility to engage the world. Over-reliance on standardized curricula and exams are leading us to that kind of abdication. We do not believe GeorgiaÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s educators need to outsource the assessment of their students. Rather, we believe GeorgiaÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s state and local school boards should have the freedom to choose from any number of possible alternatives, including those we explore in Atlanta.
When every community member is involved in learning and teaching, they are empowered to take responsibility and action that makes their immediate world a better place. This compels everyone toward citizenship and is fundamental in a pluralistic, democratic society. Towards that end, we believe that the model of Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½one size fits allÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½ needs to be replaced by Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½localizationÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½ and Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½particularizationÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½ of learning goals, in which educators determine needs, create programming, and are ultimately judged and retained based on measures of their overall performance, as defined by local communities.
We do not believe this to be a radical idea, and in fact will show that educator-led reform is in line with the history of this country. We hope that you will join us, and hundreds of others, in Atlanta on March 17th as we begin our movement to turn schools over to the people most qualified to run them, our teachers.
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