MandatesWith all we know about individual differences why are there mandates that say all children will......? We know that there are different levels of intelligence, learning styles, areas of...

Mandates

With all we know about individual differences why are there mandates that say all children will......? We know that there are different levels of intelligence, learning styles, areas of interest, cultural differences and on and on and still there are educational mandates that state all children will or 100 percent will.  The newest mandate coming out of North Carolina for high school graduation states that 100 % of students will graduate from high school.  This might be possible without tests of minimum standards but can never be possible with mandated tests.  Why are educators of all people given a task that is admirable but totally unrealistic?

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whoa-nelly's profile pic

whoa-nelly | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I've taught in California, Oklahoma and am in currently in North Carolina. I like the way that you stated your question and your response to the answer received. Each year, our "accountability" standards are raised by the state. The goal of the following year is based on your scores from the previous years. In a way, we are punished for reaching a goal because the next year may be the year that becomes unattainable. The proverbial two steps forward, one step back. Our school is that the goal of unattainable. Our EC kids can not be expected to tested as their mainstreamed peers, yet they are and schools are judged by their scores, twice. They are counted as an EC growth and also averaged into the school's overall numbers. It takes a doctorate of statistics to understand the numbers and break it down. Our system employs a statistician to help determine the numbers. Students have truly become a number and teachers are praised or fired by these numbers. It is a high pressured environment these days for teachers where one student has the power to mess with you by coloring a butterfly on their grid sheet instead of taking the test. Yet, we press on and hope that we create relationships with our students so that they will try their best, not only for themselves, but for us as well.

I do believe that NCLB & testing has made schools become better at what they do.  I would like to see a National Level of Proficiency come out instead of state to state.

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lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I teach elementary special education.  I have students with learning disabilities, autism, emotional disorders, and mental retardation.  By 2012, the way the mandates read now, 100% of my students must be proficient or advanced in the state tests. We try our best, and I completely believe that all children can learn, but holding schools to these standards is ridiculous.This is especially so when the accomodations we can make are limited.

Teachers I know are becoming increasingly unhappy with the implications by politicians that we just must not be trying hard enough with some students. The reason we are being given this unrealistic task comes down to politics--and politicians who have no experience in the classroom.

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inga | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Here, here.

 I've been saying for 8 years NCLB exists because there are so many really bad teachers.  23 years of public school teaching, I've seen it all.  If you have 2 bad teachers at every school site you have wasted an entire year with 60 plus students, who move on to the next grade unprepared and unmotivated.  It takes a dynamic teacher and a great home life to fix the damage.Then these students move on to Jr. High now there are 120 kids who have collectively missed a year of school, and then to high school, and so on.

The other dynamic at play... public school is a reflection of society.  If a school is successful and the majority of kids are learning, it is because the families make it so and the teachers buck up and do their job, for fear of being called on it.  If a school is failing you don't have to look any further than the parking lot at drop off time and witness the encounters of so called parents with each other and the staff. The society of entitlement can't see past the purchases to be made on pay day.  

We need to institute a new government program.  No Parent Left Behind.  If you aren't doing your part, you will be taxed at a higher rate to pay for future incarcerations and rehabilitation's.  Let the dysfunctional world pay for their own dysfunction, and the good families should be rewarded for their stability.

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johnschool | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

The mandates are there as a goal. If we strive for perfection, as human beings, we will reach our highest potential. If we strive for anything less, we may not. That said, I believe the government is aware of the fact that perfection is an ideal, and therefore not realistic. It is my opinion that we will not be held accountable for not reaching perfection, and ultimately these mandates will be changed.

. . .continued . . .Mandates are for people that can't or won't operate by will to self-determination nor heed the needs of their community. Mandates are not goals to be achieved or milestones to reach, they are imposed rules on unwilling parties, and not instruments of encouragement. If we really care about creating an environment in which students want to learn and want to help others learn, then we must embrace the idea that each one of us is responsible for delivering that education. If we rely on a centralized institution to do this important job, we should expect nothing more than for our children to become mindless wheels and cogs that are programmed, not to think for themselves, but to consume and spend until there is nothing left. Let's not raise boneless chickens on the government teat, but loving human beings that can think and act!!

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johnschool | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

The mandates are there as a goal. If we strive for perfection, as human beings, we will reach our highest potential. If we strive for anything less, we may not. That said, I believe the government is aware of the fact that perfection is an ideal, and therefore not realistic. It is my opinion that we will not be held accountable for not reaching perfection, and ultimately these mandates will be changed.


To strive for perfection is to experience certain failure. Rather, let's challenge our kids to strive for excellence in everything they do, be it in their personal, social, vocational, education or spiritual lives. Let's show them that the meaning of life is to give that life meaning and that the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose. The government's job is to enable and protect the blueprint that begins "WE the people. . ." but our job--as parents and teachers--is to cultivate that blueprint by educating ourselves, using our talents, skills and gifts to serve others, and by being accountable to ourselves and our neighbors. To be continued . . .

tlcteachertlc's profile pic

tlcteachertlc | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

The mandates are there as a goal. If we strive for perfection, as human beings, we will reach our highest potential. If we strive for anything less, we may not. That said, I believe the government is aware of the fact that perfection is an ideal, and therefore not realistic. It is my opinion that we will not be held accountable for not reaching perfection, and ultimately these mandates will be changed.

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rhodaramirez | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

If, as stated by tlcteachertlc, they will "ultimately be changed" then why should they be originally instituted?

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rhodaramirez | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

  Enjoyed your answer whoa-nelly.  It pains me when I observe student teachers teaching with one eye on the clock and telling their students we have 1 minute left before we must move on.  I've also had to cancel visits because the students were taking practice tests to prepare for the practice tests before the actual tests.  It's gotten insane.  Another young student teacher was excited about preparing a unit on Native Americans but once again the testing schedule got first priority.

National tests would not be an improvement....don't even go there.

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