by Rachelle Lipschultz
“No Child Left Behind” has become a great buzzword in education—everybody knows that it’s an important law, but many people are fuzzy on the details of how this law actually affects them. In this issue of the e-zine, Professor Jennifer Gross Lara explains the key components of the law and their implications for students of all ages. Professor Lara is an Associate Professor of Education at Anne Arundel Community College. Previous teaching positions have landed her in suburban Denver, the Navajo Reservation, South America, and inner-city Baltimore. Family Life Education Series: Talking to Children About Grief and Loss
On March 5, the Family Outreach Network will be continuing its popular Saturday morning series with “What Do We Say? Talking to Children About Grief and Loss.” Grief and loss are a part of life, but many parents and educators find it difficult to know how to discuss these difficult topics with their children.
This program will discuss different kinds of losses children experience. It will teach participants to recognize the factors that determine the nature of childhood grief and to identify the support systems that help children cope with grief and loss in healthy, age-appropriate ways.
The presenter, Randi Altschuler, has interned at Calvert Hospice, working with dying patients and their family members, including specific group work with children. She has also been an intern at the Calvert Hospice bereavement camp, designed specifically for children dealing with grief and loss.
Registration for this program is required. For full details about the program, as well as registration information, see our flier.
Understanding the Key Components of No Child Left Behind
By Jennifer Gross Lara
Approved by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush in January 2002, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is perhaps the most talked about education law in the past 40 years. Replacing its predecessor, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, NCLB aims to improve public education through a myriad of standards, accountability measures, and school reform initiatives for K-12 students throughout the United States. Though the NCLB law is over 1,000+ pages, there are key components that immediately affect K-12 school districts and their students.Highly qualified teachers
By 2005, NCLB encourages states to place a “highly qualified” teacher in every K-12 classroom. A “highly qualified” teacher is one who holds, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree and a valid teaching license in the state. For secondary teachers (typically grades 7-12), highly qualified teachers must also demonstrate competency in their core academic area such as mathematics, English, science, foreign language or government, to name a few. With the current teacher shortage in Maryland, not every K-12 classroom teacher is considered “highly qualified.” Some non-highly qualified teachers lack the coursework to obtain a valid teaching license or may be teaching a subject outside of their core academic area. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) continues to encourage school districts to hire only highly qualified teachers; however, there is currently not enough highly qualified teachers to choose from.Testing
No Child Left Behind requires stricter accountability measures for students in grades 3-8. The stricter measures translate to increase testing of students in the areas of reading and math in specific grade levels. The aim of the test results are twofold: 1) to provide data to school districts and administrators to target weaknesses within a school with hopes of improving the weak areas, and 2) to decrease the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and other groups of students. Historically, students classified as “disadvantaged” due to socio-economic status, race, ethnicity or gender are typically out-performed academically compared to their non-disadvantaged peers. Schools need to demonstrate progress
Under No Child Left Behind, if a school does not meet state standards by demonstrating improvement or “AYP” (Annual Yearly Progress) over a two-year period, NCLB provides three options for parents and students who attend low performing schools. First, NCLB allows parents to transfer their child to a better performing school within the school district – if a vacancy is available. Second, NCLB provides greater flexibility and support for communities to develop charter schools which typically offer a more innovative style of education to fit community needs. Lastly, NCLB provides funding, under Title 1, to offer supplemental services, such as tutoring, after/before school programs, and summer academic programs for children who attend low performing schools.
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