ACCESS FOR ALL?
I am concerned about the waivers from NCLB being granted to states. Although there is still IDEA to provided for a free and appropriate public education. The interpretation of FAPE and what is effective progress has been subject to perspective and opinion based on the decision makers in school districts. At least with the accountability of NCLB, students with disabilities have been held to the same standards for academics and statewide testing.
Waiver and Flexibility
The current system of state waivers to the requirement of NCLB will allow states to develop their own systems of accountability and provided for flexibility of spending of Title I federal dollars. As parents and advocates, we need to monitor our own states, school districts, and schools to ensure that our children don’t fall through the cracks and don’t get left behind as the push for higher achievement could surpass and overshadow the needs of our students. In order for schools to show ‘improvement’ and demonstrate ‘teacher performance’ will students with disabilities get the ‘basement classroom’ again and get to color and build with popsicle sticks? How do we ensure equal opportunities and access for all with a focus on college and career bound outcomes for all students?
I have read through President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform and I understand that the legislation needs to be reauthorized. As our government drags its’ feet with our educational standards, the president has stepped in to move things forward, but is the allowance of individual state flexibility the right way to go or should we establish the criteria and requirement and hold states accountable as we have in the past or should we go back to the states deciding what’s best? I am very concerned with this option. I agree that the current system of accountability has not achieved the goal of increasing the outcomes for all students, but what is the answer?
I propose a radical change. Treat schools like businesses and parents and students like customers. Make schools compete for the ‘business’ of educating our children with a per student stipend provided to the school of choice. So, if we know the annual per student cost, that amount would go to the school the parent enrolled their student in. The schools that demonstrate a quality in education curriculum, programs, services, and athletics would get the ‘business’ and our students would be the beneficiaries of the school’s attainment of quality to attract it’s ‘customers’.
I know it’s radical but think about it. Do we go the doctor who isn’t providing good care? Do we stay at the auto mechanic who doesn’t fix our car? Even if you get federally funded food subsidy, you can choose the food you buy and where you shop. Then why do we have to stay in schools that don’t teach our kids? Let me know what you think, comment below.
Read President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform here