Friday, November 9, 2007

How to Improve No Child Left Behind

Sean Gonsalves offers an opinion on How to Improve No Child Left Behind.

Here's my code (idea): before any new fill-in-the-bubble crazy NCLB legislation is considered, let's develop a test that measures multiple intelligences and think up a way to identify teachers’ teaching styles. Then, parents and teachers would have a better way to assess and adjust long-term learning plans that should be required for every student entering elementary school, matching them with the appropriate teaching styles along the way.

I think Mr. Gonsalves is saying that success is not defined by a paper-pencil test. He is saying that we need to be aware of teaching and learning styles and adapt the curriculum to the diverse needs of students.

Sure, almost every student can be trained to pass a paper-pencil test. The tests are not difficult so what is the big deal? Shouldn't all students meet a minimum level of proficiency?

The problem arises when school districts emphasize paper-pencil skills to the exclusion of a well-rounded education. Too many schools have let the NCLB tests cloud their vision and narrow their focus.

Multiple intelligences have been well-studied, but not well-funded in schools. Do we have money for extra physical education teachers? How about music? Foreign language? Industrial arts? Counselors? How can we teach all children if we don't allow for all of their differences?

Matching students to their areas of interest will stimulate and engage them in all classes. Numerous studies and research support addressing multiple intelligences as a means to improving academic achievement. Don't take my word for it, just go to Google Scholar and type "multiple intelligences" "improve academic achievement" with quotes.

Now go out and support a presidential candidate who supports equal education opportunities for all students.

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