Friday, April 28, 2006

NCLB "Highly Qualified" Teachers Scarce in AL

Bu$hCo's "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) is not the start of conservatism finishing off public education yet it might be the last straw. While the idea of having "highly qualified" teachers makes some sense, it is perhaps more form than substance. Still, it is interesting to see reporting by Greg Wright in The Mongomery Advertiser entitled "State fails to get best teachers" where he, in part writes,

When it came to getting qualified people to teach children essential subjects such as math and English, Alabama had one of the lowest success rates in the nation in 2004-05, according to U.S. Education Department data.

Alabama had teachers rated highly qualified in 82 percent of core academic classes such as math and English. That was below the national rate of 91 percent and ranks the state 39th out of 49 states and the District of Columbia. Figures for Delaware were not available.

Alabama children who live in poorer areas had even lower odds of having teachers who know their subject, the department said. For instance, 67 percent of Alabama secondary school core academic classes at schools in high-poverty areas had highly qualified teachers, compared to 84 percent in low-poverty areas, the department said.

This last paragraph was especially relevant for me. Teaching in a very poor school, even across the river in Georgia, makes me appreciate the demands those teachers and students and communities face. With Georgia paying a little higher than Alabama, the differences might be even more extreme. I personally favor a radical approach toward education with a dumping of the common canned curriculum and meaningless measurement supplied by NCLB. I'll explain, probably on Captain Plaid, how I'd do education if ever given the power. Peace ... or War