Thursday, May 10, 2007

413: No Deaf Child Left Behind?

How does No Child Left Behind affect the Deaf community? The No Child Left Behind program has been receiving heavy criticism over at DailyKos lately. Check out this article by teacherken:
The multiple choice questions on the AP are almost always of high quality. And, like the SAT, there is a correction for guessing: there are 5 answers, and it is the number correct minus 1/4 the number wrong. If you can eliminate one answer guessing has a marginal positive answer, and if you can eliminate two you really should answer. ON the state's HSAs there is no correction for guessing, so I have to encourage my students to answer every question, even if they have no idea of the answer. Further, there are often multiple answers or no answer that is technically correct - the answer the state might want is the Brown v Board overturned Plessy, even though it did not. The students have to look at all the answers and take the one that stinks the least.

Teacherken is highly concerned that regular students will be wasting their classroom time and focusing instead of on their education on passing tests. Passing tests is important, but how important - and how useful, especially if you have to learn a whole bizarre system just to take the test? And what happens with Deaf children? From the American Annals of the Deaf:
NCLB has 10 titles, none of which address the education of disabled children, of whom almost 7 million are identified as attending public school. Three components of NCLB have major implications for all children, including deaf and hard of hearing students: assessment; demonstrated annual yearly progress; and the mandate for highly qualified teachers. The implications for deaf and hard of hearing children, many of whom will not be identified in the present statewide assessment system, are mixed but, on balance, negative.

Oh yes, unbalanced. I would DEFINITELY say unbalanced. Especially when this happens:
But for Corona, the tests simply mean that his third-grade son, Albert, will come home from school tired and frustrated. Albert attends a program for hearing-impaired children at Loma Vista School in Ventura. Last year, he and his classmates sat through six days of tests, only to find out months later that their scores wouldn't be counted.

Their teachers used sign language to give them the test questions a modification that the school and parents said the children "rightfully and legally" deserved. Deaf children, who can't learn language skills by hearing, typically fall behind grade level in reading, they said.

State officials, however, decided that the use of sign language invalidates the scores on reading, language and spelling tests.

As James Tucker said in this conversation between heads of Deaf Schools on the NAD website:

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act’s logic-defying “Adequate Yearly Progress” provisions also put many public schools including schools for the Deaf students at risk.

With all the challenges on the table, the most frightening and daunting challenge is the proliferation of pediatric cochlear implant surgeries. While many children demonstrate improved hearing after receiving cochlear implants, most children with implants are visual learners and need sign language and visually-oriented classroom environments found in schools for Deaf students.

Sure. No child left behind - unless they use ASL to have the test rules explained to them. Thanks Bush! Create a WHOLE WEIRD Uuhif@&@&*!!'ed up system just to test people, then deny Deaf people access to the test-taking information... *shaking head* Worse, it seems to provide no oversight for Deaf schools. Check out this note from this essay on schools and NCLB:

A couple of depressing examples of why I trust teachers' ground-level input over their better-informed bosses' were in yesterday's and today's local newspapers -- and that's probably about as far as anybody else would have to look anywhere in the nation! The July 12 Rome [Ga.] Tribune gives this year's AYP results, and despite all the hype and PR of the past two years, the local schools are, to put it nicely, turning out cheap labor, and that's about it.Today's paper describes the sentencing of our state's previous superintendent to eight years for stealing $600,000 from the Georgia School for the Deaf. The School for the Deaf, for God's sake!

So with a huge government program not providing oversight, should we really be upset when Deaf people show heightened concern about Deaf schools? And what do YOU think about NCLB?....

In other news, it's the birthday of one of my favorite girls today... she knows who she is. Be good, Starlet!

1 comment:

moxie_mocha said...

I posted my opinion of your post on my blog. I'm very impressed. :)