This morning I saw the headline in the "New Haven Register" announcing that 290 schools in Connecticut have failed the No Child Left Behind standards based on the Connecticut Mastery Test scores. That paper listed results for New Haven county. I then rushed online to see the results for Fairfield County, to check the schools in my own town.
To the mother of a friend with over 30 years experience teaching in one elementary school who chided me about homeschooling being bad and ineffective and who stated outright that a parent untrained by college degree in education could never be competent to teach her own children...I see your school has failed in math and reading.
To my sister-in-law middle school math teacher, who has given me flack about homeschooling as never being able to measure up to the superior job that teachers in public schools can do....I see your school has failed in MATH and reading.
I am happy to see my hometown has passed. I am not sure how good the schools were back then but at least now they are passing.
I see the town in which I lived and paid property taxes in for 6 years has passed.
The town in which I presently live and pay property taxes to support and pay for the schools, has passed. Phew. That is good for two reasons, perhaps it will help our property value not be reduced in value and if my children ever do go there, at least they won't be entering failing schools.
The middle school in my husband's hometown has failed. That means that the middle school that my six nieces and nephews will attend is a now-failing school. Many, many relatives in my husband's family live in that town, pay taxes, and have questioned homeschooling's effectiveness, while touting how good they feel the schools in that town are. The same sister in law who works at a failing school in another town lives in this town with a failing school.
I read a bit about NCLB and how it is administered. I find it confusing and now see why in the past some school staff has complained that to figure out the rules and procedures, much staff time is used. There are certain categories which I don't understand such as "safe harbor" and "needs improvement". Each designation means a different thing will happen to that school.
One thing that I see is that the passing grades started low and increase each year. The passing test scores seem so low to me.
Passing Scores for 2006:
Also 95% of students must take the test or the school automatically fails.
There is a quote by a principal in the New Haven Register that he feels that as the test standards get higher and higher that eventually 100% of schools will fail. Wow, how is that for a negative outlook?
I was surprised to see that in year one and two of failing, that a student has the right to change to a different school or to receive tutoring services. Private tutoring for every child can be costly ($75-80 per hour here). Suddenly having students changing schools can throw a monkey wrench into things such as space, teacher to student ratio, etc. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt.
I am trying not to be prideful but hearing that 290 schools in my state have failed to meet standards makes me happy that I am homeschooling, and happy that my children are performing above grade level in reading and math. If I am not careful the NCLB scores could make me want to push my children even harder, to achieve more, for their sake and to prove that homeschooling works. But that is not what homeschooling is about for me, it is NOT about me as the parent trying to be better than someone else (the school teacher).
Many people including every school teacher I know has had no problem stating that homeschoolers (including our family) should be accountable for their children's academic progress. Every teacher I know as a friend, relative or acquaintence has stated directly and plainly that they feel that MY homeschooled children should be tested with standardized tests and evaluated by the public school staff for my competency as a teacher and for my children's academic progress for the sake of the child, and if they "fail" they should be forced to go to public school.
I have also been practically accused by the public school teachers that I know of possibly doing my children harm by homeschooling them, that I would do best by them if I were to turn them over to the public schools. However these same teachers have complained to me about NCLB and stated that testing THEIR public schooled students is not right or fair, and that they don't feel it is right to be held accountable for their students performance.
I am trying very hard not to gloat or to revel in the failure of the schools, especially the ones that my friends and relatives work at, so I'll vent my feelings here on my blog rather than to them directly as I feel that would not be polite. Note that the teachers I know are outspoken with me on their negative opinions of me but I hold my tongue when I get a chance to say negative things to them (even when they are based on facts such as the NCLB standards and on test scores). But it is so hard!!