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What Every Parent, Teacher, and Community Member Needs to Know About No Child Left Behind

A pdf file of this NBLC guide is posted on the Oakland (CA) Education Association website, available for downloading and printing. Presenting a factual overview of the NCLB legislation, the purpose is to inform the public about what's happening in their schools.

Standardistos, including our unions and professional organizations, make money from this legislation. Teachers like Elizabeth Jaeger offer a guidebook--for free. We need to find a way to get this booklet into the hands of parents.

With this pdf file, local organizations could do it. It should be printed on newsprint and made available for free in grocery stores, doctors' offices, and other people parents frequent.

by Elizabeth Jaeger, M. A.

from the Introduction

Last summer I was hired to teach a course called The Politics of Literacy at San Jose State University. In preparing the syllabus, I gathered as much information as I could find about NCLB � its origins, provisions, implications, and effects. I assumed that my students � practicing teachers working toward a reading specialist credential and master�s degree � would know a lot about this piece of legislation which had such a profound impact on their professional lives. What I discovered, however, was that although they experienced a sort of low-level anxiety, they were woefully ignorant about significant elements of the act and almost completely unaware of its nuances. These were intelligent, successful educators. If their knowledge was so limited, how likely was it that the average teacher � and, of equal concern, the average parent � was well-informed on this issue?

Then I read the annual Phi Delta Kappan poll (2006) in which Americans are asked to give their opinions on a variety of issues related to public education. There was much of interest in the results, but what most struck me was one fact in particular: the more people knew about NCLB, the less they supported it. 1If this were in fact true, then the missing link in changing the tide of public opinion was something I already had collected a lot of � information.
And in that moment, the idea for this monograph was born. NCLB is up for reauthorization in 2007. If, after reading this booklet, you share my concerns, I urge you support the recommendations at the end of each chapter and consider one or more of the actions listed in the Looking Ahead section. The time is now.

This report can be read at the url below, but here's the cautioning epilogue.


If you teach in a Title I school or if your children attend a school labeled as �failing,� much of this information is probably not new to you. You�ve witnessed first hand the pressures which this legislation brings to bear on students, teachers, and administrators alike. But if you neither teach nor parent, or if you do and are lucky enough to be associated with a school which has, to date, avoided the perils of NCLB, please do not assume that you are immune to the fallout. If NCLB is reauthorized with no major changes, virtually every school will be classified as failing by 2014. In the interim, even the best schools will scramble to meet the law�s requirements, diminishing the amount of time and energy left for teaching and learning. With the overarching focus on isolated skills, many young graduates will lack the ability to think at a higher level and work cooperatively. Debates about what it means to be an �educated person� and what role local, state, and federal entities play in teaching and learning are occurring even as you read this text. Join in.

— Elizabeth Jaeger, M. A.


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