a career in pediatric physical therapy


dear mayor bloomberg: i am so nervous because a test is in three weeks. when my teacher, miss rubenstein, told my class how important this test was, i started to sweat. i feel like a marshmallow on a stick, getting put

in a fire, never even getting out of the fire, waiting to be eaten. so i melt, nice and slow... nervous alert. oh, no, i think i'm gonna-- boom! oh, no, i exploded. now i'm melting

into a gigantic puddle. all that's left of me are... i just can't handle it. i just can't. oh my, i'm so embarrassed. i just am. i really hope i pass third grade... i have the whole world

on my shoulders. this goes on my report card, then my college education, and that gets me a good job. somebody help. i wonder what my score is going to be? where is my paper? where is my number two pencil?

because i can't read that well, and i'm scared that i won't understand the answers. my hands were sweaty. i almost started crying, and i had a funny feeling in my stomach. i hope i never feel that way again, especially by some test

i can't show the amazing work i did all year. why judge them only on one test? why not homework? how about how neat they write, how much they improved throughout the year? this test doesn't tell

and show the work you can do best, like writing, my favorite. every day i grow stronger, but do you see that? no, because... i love school, and i feel that we should not have to be nervous this young.

please help us third graders with this situation. [soft piano music] å¥ å¥ wilson: oddly enough, this story begins between manhattan and queens. for the past nine months now, i've made this commute

to roosevelt island, home of 10,000 new york city residents hoping to stray away from the restlessness the city is well known for. i spent these months here, the island's only public school. it's here that i've been reacquainted with

public schools-- this time, however, rather than as a student, as a student teacher. this is also where i've witnessed a reshaping of education, one that's occurring in all public schools, one that promises to change

the face of education as we know it, one that promises no child be left behind. but are they? why? why is it-- why did we need federal legislation to mandate that kids

be tested, that there be this compliance with standards? and i think-- wilson: well, what happened essentially at the federal level: they said that all kids-- [phone rings] that all kids must

meet standards. that's essentially what was said. and the standards will be defined by the states, and all kids will be subject to testing starting in the third grade and will have to be tested yearly in order to ensure

that they're getting the type of education that they are entitled to, as determined by their performance on standardized tests, starting as early as the third grade. i had them write about their feelings about the upcoming test:

how are you feeling about the test? do you feel prepared? why yes? why not? i felt awful. i felt that it seemed as though i was caught between a rock and a hard place. because no matter how much

i prepared them for this test, they were so anxious about it. i was very worried that their anxiety would override their being prepared for the test. woman: i, michael r. bloomberg, do solemnly swear... i, michael r. bloomberg, do solemnly swear...

that i will support the constitution of the united states... and the constitution of the state of new york. we will test our educators. we will test our students. the need is real. the time is now.

without authority there is no accountability. the public, through the mayor, must control the school system. [applause and cheers] wilson: within six months, legislation to rescue the city's ailing schools was implemented. under the new system, the board

of education was completely dismantled, thus making the mayor directly responsible for the schools' achievement and the schools' held directly accountable to the mayor. meanwhile, in washington, something very similar was happening.

one week after mayor bloomberg was sworn in, president bush signed into law the no child left behind act, which, among other things, made schools accountable to the federal government in exchange for federal dollars. the first day he was in

office, the day after he was out all night, dancing at the inaugural balls in 2001, there was a reading conference at the white house. and out of that reading conference came the reading first portion of the no child left behind, which put

$6 billion into federal grants for reading instruction to school districts around the country. wilson: the bush administration offered the department of education unprecedented levels of funding, far outspending any

prior administration in order to support this massive overhaul of public education. however, many critics argue it's still not enough, the foremost of which being the national education association. this so-called no child left

behind is a reform piece, offering reforms for education. there's nothing wrong with that. but if, in fact, you think that you are ever going to have reform without resources, it's not going to happen. and so when you have the so-called no child left

behind law and you want every state to implement it, you have to make sure that the money is there in order for them to do it. now, you will find-- and this is, again, where the administration will have some tension with us--

rather than argue whether or not what i'm saying is true as opposed to what they're saying, i go to a state. the state of ohio, about a month ago, they did their own study. and through their own study it was determined that if, in fact, no child left behind was

going to be implemented to its entirety in the state of ohio, the state would have to pay an additional--or come up with-- an additional $1.4 billion. well, if you think about what do special interest groups want from the federal government, they want

more money. i mean, it's sort of what they do. lobbyists come to washington to get more money for a variety of programs, whether we're talking agriculture, defense, environment, education. that's what they do.

they demand more money. so i don't think, no matter how well you fund or how much you fund any particular program, you will never hear a lobbyist for any special interest come and say, "well, we've got enough money." it just doesn't happen.

wilson: one of the other major criticisms of no child left behind deals with the implications of using a standardized test as means of assessing achievement. and that is where we left off on roosevelt island. i mean, of course they need

calculation skills, and they need to know reading comprehension skills, but we don't fill out bubbled tests or assignments, or we don't even think in bubbled ways. so the emperor came to inspect his great wall, and he was... impressed.

amazed. engrossed with it. who would like to act like the emperor and show his reaction? ooh. yay. i need someone to be very dramatic.

[children talking indistinctly] mohammed, up. oh, yeah! i like mohammed. let's be a good audience. hmm. fantastic! wait. wait. wait. finally, after ten years of work--

oh, my god, let me do one! fatimata. imagine. å¥ hallelujah. å¥ [laughter] okay. if you come into class, we don't even have those-- i don't even give that out

as assignments, to read something and to bubble in the correct answer. it's more: reading a paragraph and dissecting it and analyzing it and then discussing it with each other when they, you know, turn and--pair and share and turn and talk.

the last lines i read: what will become of us? how shall we save ourselves? turn to your partner. how could we possibly save them? [children talking at once] good job. i loved how bobbi immediately saw and turned

her eyes towards me. thank you. it's so much more than just reading something and being able to identify the right answer. the skills that they learn in third grade, or it should be in any grade, are skills that

you take with you throughout time and that they're not really different skills, but they become more advanced and more sophisticated. college admissions don't even use one form of assessment. so why are we just using, with our youth, one variable?

i mean, it just doesn't seem-- not even appropriate for age, but if we're going to apply something, apply it on the whole. it's demanding an enormous culture shift in our schools and a big change in the way schools do business.

you know, previously it was okay for kids to fail, even high percentages of kids to fail. and this is saying that's not okay anymore, that schools have an obligation to get all kids to high levels of achievement. i see enormous problems in the public school system.

and the biggest problem is that there's no competition. it's a monopoly, and parents don't have enough choice. we are floundering. 40% of our kids are not reading at grade level at third and fourth grade, so that's a recipe for failure.

there's very little you can do with a child who can't read at fourth grade. how do you get a system to change? the mayor and the chancellor sit down and say, "we have a commitment to education in this city.

we want to ensure that all kids in this city have access to a sound basic education." so i think what they did is, they sat down, and they said, "we're going right down to the infrastructure. we're going right down to the grass roots.

we're going right down to the level at which policy is created and implemented and at the classroom level, mandating curriculum." [pensive music] wilson: i wanted to see if this new legislation was affecting other parts of

the country in the same manner as it is here in the city. so i went, of all places, home. this is where i spent the first six years of my public education. after i retired i got a letter from the company

hired to correct the new michigan assessment test. and the law said that they had to hire teachers or retired teachers to correct the tests. during the lunch hours sometimes or they would stop just for a break from the routine, and they'd pull out a test--

answer--essay to read to us just because of its uniqueness. and one day they pulled one out, and it was one of the most creative pieces of writing i have seen anywhere in my life. and yet this student failed the test because he didn't have the four elements.

he just went off and wrote his essay. and i'm thinking, "this kid is going to be a great writer someday." you could just sense it and see it in the way he expressed himself. and you wondered about some of

the ones that did pass the test. so i don't know the value of the way they were-- the criteria they were using to evaluate the tests. the state's data is incomplete, and it's inaccurate. and consequently, schools were being graded on data

that was faulty. and of course we were all concerned about that. you're going to place a judgment on a school, on a school district, that's going to be printed in the papers. it's going to be very public.

and yet it's based on inaccurate information. who wants that? to put it at its most charitable: a quality of arbitrariness and lack of thorough thinking in the law. the president visited a school in southfield sometime in

the last two years, declared it to be an excellent school. and within the last year or so, it's been declared to be not making adequate yearly progress under the provisions of no child left behind. the school has not changed radically.

it has certainly not changed 180 degrees in that period of time. okay, first thing we have to do is, we have to talk about some strategies that we've talked about all year long, strategies that you need to be able to decode a word...

it seems like my entire inner being is focused on how i can teach children. putting a mandate out that says, "you're going to produce children who are exactly the same quality," is very unfair. it's unfair to the people who

are trying to help children, and it's unfair to the children. turn to page 230, and see if you can find the word on there that means, "when animals move from one place to another." did you find the word? mm-hmm. what is it?

migrations. excellent. and you even said it right too... sometimes it seems like the people who are making the decisions are not the people who are closest to the children.

my superiors will say-- not just to me but has said to everyone--"you need to have your children at grade level by the end of the year." but it's very interesting: when teachers say, "well, here's what we need. we need smaller class sizes,

or we need appropriate materials," they say, "well, we don't have enough money for that." so it seems like the focus is on, "well, the teacher must not be doing it correctly if the child is not at the grade level."

and i just don't buy that. today you don't have a lot of leeway. the state controls the curriculum. the funding for schools. you get a per-pupil allocation. it's not like it was 25 years ago, where there was much more

local control of education. there will be less and less local discretion over the content of what goes on in the classroom, less and less and more and more classroom time will be devoted to preparing kids to pass the standardized tests by which adequate yearly

progress is measured. in, oh, about two weeks, i told you that you are going to be taking a test. and we need to practice for that test. i don't want you to be nervous about the test, because the test does two things.

it tells me what i need to do to teach--to make sure that i'm teaching you all the things that you're supposed to be learning. and--that's one thing. and it tells me what i need to work on as a whole group, everybody. now, the test--the paper--

you're going to get right now is just practice, and that's all it is. so we're going to talk about how to fill the paper out, and we're going to talk about how to find the answers. i believe that a standardized test is one tool that a teacher

uses to assess students. but it is certainly not the only tool, by any means. there are some kids who work very slowly and carefully. and it's not that they're not intelligent, and it's not that they can't do it; it's just that they're very meticulous about

their reading and their thinking. so they don't finish the test, and they get a lower score. and so that's why it can only be one tool. it can't be the measurement. "this is the measurement to determine if your children

are on grade level." absolutely, positively not. when this test is scored by the machine, you have three choices, right? and you can-- this is what you need to know. you can only choose one choice. guess what happens...

there are parents who say to us, "you're not testing my child. you're not putting my child through all those--that battery of tests." well, under this system, if you have people who object to taking it, the school has

no recourse, but you are held accountable for something that you can't control. once again, it puts the schools in a terrible position. look at this one. what if i filled it in like this? i want to tell you

what's going to happen if i go: the machine doesn't read it. a human being doesn't look at these; a machine looks at them. okay? so you have to make sure that you fill in the space the way it's supposed to be filled in...

we don't all grow at the same rate, and we have strengths and weaknesses. and those strengths and weaknesses don't make us failures. if i'm weak in an area, it doesn't mean that i'm a failure.

i haven't met a teacher who didn't want every child in their classroom to succeed at the level that they're at and to achieve. i haven't met any of those teachers. those are the issues that are being placed and put on

teachers, that, "you're just not trying hard enough. if you were just trying a little bit harder, mrs. prince, that maybe your students would all be at grade level." huh. well, i'm trying as hard

as i can. these children that come from affluent areas travel, and they have experiences. they have an environment that, you're going to learn. you've got every opportunity to learn. somehow we have to give that

same opportunity to rural areas and inner city schools and places that don't have those opportunities and never will unless the government steps in. i look at students in areas where there's poverty and where there's deprivation and so on.

and i know from statistics, there's going to be a certain amount of geniuses in there, a certain amount of qualified people that can do great things. and we're wasting that. and god knows we need good minds. wilson: when i was in

the sixth grade, my family and i moved about three miles to the north, this place being the birmingham school district. i spent the next three years of my public education here, berkshire middle school. slow down, please. slow down, darius.

[children speaking indistinctly] [soft electronic bell ringing] i would predict that many parents are pleased that schools are going to be held accountable for success. in our district, our students have always been very successful.

and i know in our school systems, we're cutting teachers. we're cutting programs because of budget crunches. but yet we are expected to spend all this money to test children. the amount of money that the state--or actually, the federal government--

has made available for this is not going to cover the cost of implementation and also certification. and again, i don't think it is as much of a problem for us as a district because we're very fortunate to have resources, although they

continue to dwindle. but i think the urban and the rural areas will definitely experience more difficulty. with all the cuts we're going to have to have this year-- we're having $4 million cuts, next year another $4 million

if not $7 million--i mean, it's very, very scary what's going on. we've had a fine district. so we have programs that far exceed a normal, average school district. well, now, parents are still expecting that.

well, the funding's not coming from the state anymore. so we're going to have to back off on those. and that's when, all of a sudden, everybody's getting nervous. but we already are at such a high level.

you know, so... "i know it's kind of hard to believe, but it really did happen; i swear. it all started when i got..." in a school district such as birmingham, which is a nationally ranked school district, to get any kind

of a f, failing grade, all parents-- i mean, parents who don't even understand no child left behind all of a sudden panic. it is not a true reflection of our schools, our school district. and it's credibility--

as a parent is--i don't view it as credible at all. so our two high schools, which are two of the top performing high schools in the entire state, were deemed to not have made adequate yearly progress last year because they tested

less than 95% of the students, although they had over 90% of students proficient in reading and math, yet... so that's a problem for us, to have two of our high schools identified as not having adequate yearly progress, even though students at those

two high schools do extremely well compared to the rest of the state and the united states. if we don't show academic yearly progress, which could be, again, in the 90 percentiles, high-80 percentiles, and we don't show that over the five

years, and they can come in and take over our district, something's wrong. that's scary, as a parent, to think that that could happen. okay, what did we learn so far? what did we learn, alanna? there's going to be two

people: nani and nemma. okay, what do we know? what's happened to nani? um, nani has... so we are really restricted or dictated to as to what you teach at what grade level. i think some teachers are feeling kind of like

the big brother notion, that we are being told this is what we have to do. other teachers are relieved that there is such a specific curriculum, because now they feel somebody's thought about the scope and sequence, and they are now being told this

is exactly what they are expected to do. okay, as a result of no child left behind and the grade-level testing in grades three through eight in reading and math, the state has written the grade level content expectations.

for example, the class we just saw: by the end of sixth grade, students will "describe how characters--recognize for quality and literary merit, form opinions about one another and ways they can be fair and unfair." they'll "analyze the elements

of a narrative genre." they'll "analyze the role of dialog, plot, characters, themes, major and minor characters, and climax." and so by the end of sixth grade, these are some of the reading characteristics we--or reading things--we want

the students to be able to do when they leave us. there are so many criteria to this no child left behind. like, even in the paper today, they were talking about how there's 37 criteria a school has to meet. and let's say birmingham met 36

of them and didn't meet the 37th. they will have a failing grade. a school that meets 0 out of 37 gets a failing grade. we are, at that point, viewed the same as that school. so it's just not realistic benchmarks.

yes, i do agree, yeah, that maybe we should be increasing, but there is a fine line to it. increasing from a 92 to a 94? you're still a fine example at 92. so what they are not taking into account is really the level. an 18% to a 20%?

that, to me: a little bit different. you know, where i came from a 90 was an a. i fear that an erosion of already pretty weak confidence in public education is going to be the result, rather than a strengthening of common

commitment to public schooling. you know, "no child left behind," who can not get behind that slogan? but i'm not sure that in the end result, that's what this legislation is actually doing. in no child left behind, from my understanding, from what

i've been told, every graduating senior, their name and address is going to be given to the military for recruitment, which has never happened before. they have tied that to no child left behind, like on page 22 of the packet on no child left behind.

the military, what has that got to do with academic yearly progress or testing our kids? i mean, that's scary. that's what scares me, the federal government coming in. we have, even today, over 60% of black children

not graduating from high school. that's a condemnation of those children to an economic future which guarantees their inferior status in this economy. that's not acceptable in a program, after we've spent literally hundreds of billions of dollars to get those

children just on par with white counterparts. wilson: we've been inside two different michigan school districts so far: southfield and birmingham. last year, just under half of southfield students passed the michigan state assessment,

or meap, test. in birmingham, however, 80% of its students passed. in southfield the combined sat score for high-school seniors: 914. in birmingham: 1191. the percentage of students passing advanced placement exams

in southfield is just over 37%. in birmingham: 82%. furthermore, standard & poor's referred to birmingham schools as "achieving exceptionally above-average student results with exceptionally above-average spending per student." southfield, on the other hand,

was merely said to be achieving "average student results with exceptionally above-average spending." these two districts both lie within oakland county, which is consistently ranked among the wealthiest counties in the nation.

both enjoy similar spending per student as well as teacher compensation. nevertheless, there remains a significant achievement gap between these two districts which seem to have everything in common. well, except:

did i mention 66% of southfield students are black? in birmingham however, african americans only make up 3 1/2% of the student body. i caught up with a group of southfield parents at a nearby park. i think it's getting

a little bit out of hand because the school and the teachers are required to do a lot with very little resources. they're being held accountable for some things maybe should be occurring at home or outside of school that they really don't

have control over, so i don't know how you really measure that. opposite. opposite, there you go. i think parents should be involved. i mean, i think that just should go--

my parents were involved when i was going to school. i just think that's a--that shouldn't be a criteria. you know, it just should be something that you do for your children and their education. so, no, i don't think that's a problem.

it could be a lack of parental involvement, you know, especially single-parent homes. or you've got two parents that work, and trying to make the school piece of it and the home piece--trying to balance everything in society,

so it could be. wilson: in fact, the number of single-parent homes with children in them in southfield is not only above the state average but more than double that of birmingham. my son went to montessori school up until he was

in the third grade. and he hasn't really been challenged until now. so he's basically been going through just on what he already knew. and since he's been at brother rice, he's been more challenged. and the work has been a lot more

beneficial to him. and we've seen a lot more improvement in what he's doing. i haven't lost confidence in all public schools, let me say that. in my public schools, maybe just a little, yes. [clears throat]

i moved here from texas, and the public schools there, i thought, were a little bit more advanced, and the kids, i think, were challenged a little bit more. they are getting the best out of the students right now, so i think--

i am, yes. unfortunately, i don't agree. i believe that they-- testing is becoming-- they're giving more information. it's getting more visible. however, with no additional funding, i fail to see what they

are planning to accomplish. i don't know when enough-- we could always ask for more, and we always need more. wilson: right. if it were about money, we would have much higher test scores than we have today. because if you look at where

the funding has gone in the last ten years, michigan funding for education has gone up by over $6 billion. there's certainly plenty of room for blame when you're working under regulations, because you can say, "well, that rule messed thing up for us, or that rule

messed things up." if you do away with some of that and just say, "we're going to hold you accountable based on how well your kids are learning," you sort of take away the comfort blanket, okay? and you really force schools to respond.

that's where i'd like us to be. no child left behind? sure. it's a huge regulatory burden, no question about it. you think we should make excuses for poor performance? i mean, i guess that's the follow-up question. let's have high expectations

for kids and help them achieve their very best. i love accountability. i hold my kids accountable. i suspect when you have kids, if you ever do, you'll hold them accountable. you don't get to where you want to be by accident.

and so i think it's appropriate for us as a state and for the federal government to say, "we want kids to learn." the only way that we have, that we believe that is accurate, is to make sure we're testing kids. i think the unfortunate thing

is, the results of our testing have not always been reported accurately. and we get into this pattern of comparing one school to another school. i don't know that that's fair. that was not the intent of testing.

the testing that is being advocated is designed simply to prove to the state that "child a" received a year's worth of learning for a year's worth of class time. [church bells ring] the phrase "no child left

behind" was stolen from the children's defense fund, which is an advocacy group for children that takes quite a different ideological and political position from the bush administration. so i have to admit, my very first reactions were colored by

their lifting of that phrase. there are lots and lots of schools that don't serve kids well. and the kids that are badly served are disproportionately poor kids and kids of color, but... no, i don't have confidence

in the good faith of the main actors behind it. and i do see it as part of a move to move towards privatization. pardon me. if i could just make the inevitable comment to anybody who follows this,

but it's, you know, when people whom we have doubt about give us the material, we have to use it. when the secretary of education calls the nea a terrorist organization, it does not inspire confidence in his commitment to public school teachers.

you wouldn't believe that in 2004 in the united states of america, you cannot express a point of view that is different without being called names, without being castigated, without being called unpatriotic. it is absolutely amazing to me

and goes against everything, everything, that we work with kids about. you know, you can never explain how screwed up the details of this legislation are to the american people and be convincing about it. it'll sound like we don't want

to improve student achievement or be held accountable for it. wilson: michael casserly is the executive director of the council of the great city schools, an organization which provides a voice in washington for 62 of the nation's large urban school districts.

it's not unusual at all for urban school districts to have the federal government in their business, because the federal government has been in their business for a very long time. the cities see in it both a promise and a need to raise academic performance,

particularly with a group of kids that have sometimes not been well served by wilson: over the past few years, achievement amongst member schools has been on the rise. test results show significant improvement amongst minorities

as well as rising reading scores, even as nationwide scores remain stagnant. most principals recognize that the intent of that is good and that there are many provisions there that they themselves would say are good ones.

it's the implementation, the kinds of staffing and resources that are needed to carry out some of those provisions where principals have felt the lack of support to accomplish the goals of the whole piece of legislation.

even if we had equitable funding, it wouldn't be equitable, because some people need more resources to get to a higher level than other people. we know that kids come into school at the age of five with vastly different capacities

based upon their family income. then you've automatically got a gap built into the school setting, and the school's supposed to overcome that gap without ever, you know, having the resources to do something about that. wilson: perhaps this

explains the achievement gap back in michigan, where southfield kids start school with family incomes of over $30,000 less than their birmingham counterparts. our system is wonderfully designed to sort people out. some people need to work

on the factory floor. some people need to be managers. but if you're saying, "we don't want to sort people out; we want everybody to have the skills of managers," then you've got to have a different system. if everybody's at a high level

of educational level, are they really going to be willing to do that work if their skills exceed that? so then you wonder, "how would our economy work, since the largest growth area of jobs in our country is in service economy?"

would our economy actually work? and i'm not talking about whether it should be that way. i'm just saying the way it is. and so you do wonder then if people are knowledgeable about that, are they really sincere in making everybody at a high level?

you're having to change the mind-sets of teachers and principals in schools that, for years and years and years, have been allowed to make excuses for low-income students' low achievement and minority students' low achievement and say, "well, it's that they

live in violent neighborhoods. it's that their families are disorganized. it is, you know, it is everything except the school that is responsible for this child's low achievement." and this is saying, "no, schools have an obligation to help

all kids achieve at high levels." when legislators sat down, they sat down and said, "you know, we see these achievement gaps between poor and wealthier students. we see achievement gaps between white and minority students.

we see these achievement gaps, and we see them over time, and they're not getting any better. we see a little bit of improvement in the '70s, but '80s and '90s and today we see that gap, in fact, growing in some instances.

so we need to do something that is more deliberate and more systematic in closing that achievement gap." this idea of teaching to the test is, you know, nothing but bad instruction. you ought not teach to the test. there was bad instruction before

n.c.l.b., and there is bad instruction post-n.c.l.b. this law is, in technical terms, referred to as, um, dumb. but i think that it came about from folks who care about doing the right thing, like being held accountable for doing our jobs.

the problem is that they don't really seem to know what our jobs are... the federal government is taking more and more and more liberties with local control of public schools. things that used to be your school board, your legislature,

your governor that would set policy--and they knew the communities--all of a sudden are being taken over by the federal government, which funds very, very little of our school programs. so we get all the mandates, all the rules and regulations,

the one-size-fits-all kinds of templates... we teach good nutrition. we teach first aid. we diversify our curriculum and stretch to meet the personal, individual needs of all our students, including the blind, the hearing impaired,

the emotionally disturbed, the physically challenged, the mentally disabled, the gifted and talented, not to mention the students who don't fit into any of those categories. we make sure they've had their immunizations, make sure they

understand disease control, teach them to resist drugs, alcohol, tobacco, give career counseling, suicide counseling, counseling to juvenile defenders. we instill an understanding of civil rights, the political process, foster racial

and social tolerance, an appreciation of our cultural diversity. we teach computer skills, the principles of free enterprise, and good telephone manners. we report child abuse, develop personal responsibility,

and check for head lice. we raise money for the homeless, for kidney transplants, for new playground equipment. we practice bicycle safety, provide bilingual education, teach metrics, how to be a wise consumer, exercise, weight control, how to drive a car,

teach them to revere our environment, how to manage their money, how to access information, how to make wise choices, how to balance a checkbook. we teach loyalty to the ideals of a democracy, build patriotism, good oral hygiene,

a sense of respect for the worth and dignity of every individual. we nurture curiosity, a questioning nature, build self-esteem. and then we teach reading... writing, and arithmetic. and we take pride! they want to know that someone

who understands what it's like in their classroom, in their life, can go back to washington, d.c., and help guide whatever political forces are out there that need to understand that. so it's, i mean, it's energizing to me. i was talking to one gentleman

about adequate yearly progress and a.y.p.s--you know this. correct? can you feel the love in the room? yeah. and after a very frustrating interview, i went home, and i was inspired to write

this song. å¥ a bureaucrat came into town. å¥ å¥ and at first we thought å¥ å¥ he jested. å¥ å¥ he said, "when i get through å¥ å¥ with you, folks, å¥ å¥ there'll be no child å¥ å¥ left untested. å¥ å¥ he said... å¥

i don't write music. i make up tacky teacher novelty songs. teachers are so frustrated with this absurd law that if you can laugh and you can kind of poke fun at it, sometimes that's just as therapeutic

as ranting and raving and kicking your feet. you can sing. å¥ drill your kids å¥ å¥ like little robots, å¥ å¥ even if the young ones cry. å¥ å¥ perfection or we punish you å¥ å¥ at stepford child å¥ å¥ junior high. å¥

å¥ he said, "north, south, å¥ å¥ east, west, å¥ å¥ we need a simple, å¥ å¥ one-size-fits-all test... å¥ i was asked to speak in massachusetts recently. and they said, "you know, we've got kind of a musical protest, union-song theme.

and can you think of a song that would fit no child left behind that would be appropriate?" and i said, "i don't know an appropriate song, but i bet i could write an inappropriate song." å¥ well, we listened å¥ å¥ quiet politely å¥

å¥ to the snake oil å¥ å¥ he cried to pass. å¥ å¥ then we voted all together å¥ å¥ to kick him out upon his å¥ å¥ adequate yearly å¥ å¥ progress formula. å¥ å¥ it's an education rip-off, å¥ å¥ and our kids å¥ å¥ we will not write off. å¥

å¥ because if we have to test å¥ å¥ their butts off, å¥ å¥ there'll be no å¥ å¥ child's behind left. å¥ å¥ that's right. å¥ å¥ our kids are counting on us å¥ å¥ like it was life or death. å¥ å¥ if we have to test å¥ å¥ there'll be no child's å¥

å¥ behind left. å¥ that's it. look at the billions of dollars, title i monies and other education monies that have been put forth to districts and states, billions, with absolutely no change in reading capability.

i'll show you some stuff. if you look at kids, again, from disadvantage, what you're going to see in all of the skills necessary for reading are very low skills. so here's average. and here are the subskills that all readers require

to be able to read. these are disadvantaged kids. look how far below average they are. and this is a very typical trend. when we put in place good instruction, accountable instruction--this is

a reading first school-- just in one year, we're getting up to snuff on almost the majority of skills that the kids need in the highest disadvantaged schools. this is what the president sees. i brief him.

he sees all of the data. and it's common sense to him. if you can do it anywhere, if you can do it in the toughest places, why can't we help every kid in the country, even those kids who have always been set aside? i just came back from west

virginia, one of the poorest states in the country, doing extremely well with kids who are at risk. those kids are reaching benchmarks statewide-- the ones at risk-- in the middle of the year that last year it took all year

to reach. their teachers are well-prepared. the accountability is working. the same is true for oregon and washington, alabama, a very poor state, kansas, and so forth and so on. the president feels that it is

critical, that--it sounds like a clichã©--but no child is left behind. and the most kids, or the kids most frequently left behind, are poor kids. [melancholy piano music] i worked with a student this past semester who had a lot of

personal problems. and she just didn't have any reason to come to school, and so she didn't. in one month, she may have attended school four times. and she ran away from home repeatedly. and there was no mechanism

at the school to deal with her. because the pressures of the school were all on improving the test scores and bringing up the achievement and the proficiency level for the school as a whole, that students like bonnie were falling through the cracks.

and when i hear about all the good that no child left behind is doing--and i admit that it has done a great deal of good--but i always think about bonnie. and i wonder, well, who is going to save bonnie? and how is no child left behind

going to help her? and for now, i don't think it will. it is closing the achievement gap and raising overall student achievement. you know, your having a lot of people complain about it, you know, when it's doing what

it was supposed to do, isn't a balanced picture. because it's asking schools to do something they've never done before. and that is, place the same value on the achievement of minority students and poor students that they place on

the education of affluent white students, and that's hard. that goes against everything in our culture and everything in our history; it's hard. there is a clash. there is a tension in an educational system where the standardized testing is used

as the criterion, and really there is no choice but to comply with that. so a teacher could say, "i don't want to do it," but then the consequence is that the kid is not adequately prepared to take the test. parents, i think, have

a different perspective. i think parents are saying, "i want the best for my kid." i think parents have always said that. and they trust the schools to make the decision that's best for their children. wilson: back on roosevelt

island, it's now the last day of school. i know she'll never forget us, because she's always talking about us. and she says we're the only class that she teached that she had so much fun with us. is that what i said?

did i say that? did i really? really? nope. did you not say that? i don't think i said you were the only class-- she said that she had a lot of classes that she really had

fun with. but i said you guys are very special to me. we'll never forget her. i'll never forget you guys. okay, 301 group hug. bye. kids: bye. wilson: later that day,

the classroom is now bare, and emotions are running high. soon the room will return to a stillness that it hasn't known for ten months now. it's not clear how things may or may not change before students return, but until perviousness

and discernment and imagination reigned once again, all that will remain here is an echo, an echo of all the time that's passed. and until then, silence will prevail.

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