Science is not one of the subjects being tested and the American Chemical Society's position is that if you can't fight them, join them and want science to be one of the "optional" subjects to be tested. As a chemist I do not agree with this as I would like to do away with the tests and find other ways to "test" student knowledge of a subject. These other methods do exist as I learned them when I took some courses with WestEd in Teacher Leadership, but it involves training the teachers to be able to do this. It is simpler for a teacher to teach by rote to the standardize test.
But enough of my soap box I will copy below the e-mail I received from the Rev Jan Resseger the UnitedChurch of Christ minister whose sole job is to study Public Education in this country. She is the only minister of any denomination to have this job and as such sits on some important education commissions.
Jan Resseger, Minister for Public Education and Witness
Not to get political but I also received a letter from Senator Lautenberg in reply to my "form" letter that I sent to him advocating the American Chemical Society's position along with my own. --------------
Dear Ms. Brown :
Thank you for contacting me about the reauthorization of the "No Child Left Behind Act" (NCLB). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
The "No Child Left Behind Act" was enacted in 2002 to increase accountability and raise educational standards in our public schools. While I support the principles upon which NCLB is based, I have concerns about the way this law has been put into practice.
First, I am concerned about the emphasis on standardized testing. The law requires annual math and reading tests in grades three through eight, and once in high school. Schools that miss the set benchmarks face increasingly tough consequences, such as loss of funding or having to replace teachers or principles. While useful in some cases, standardized testing can measure only a small sample of what is learned in school. We should not rely solely on a single test to reflect the achievement of a student or the realities of their school district. I support changes to No Child Left Behind that would grant states flexibility in measuring schools' progress.
I also support implementing a "growth" model when assessing schools. Under this method, changes in test scores are measured over time to determine if students are making strides in their learning. Thus, schools will get credit for student progress. This model is particularly useful when measuring the achievements of schools in poorer districts, which face a more difficult set of circumstances than schools in more affluent areas.
Finally, I believe the reauthorization should place a high priority on a wider number of academic subjects. As it stands, many schools have begun to neglect subjects like science, social studies, and the arts in favor of increased instruction on reading and math - both of which are assessed by standardized tests. While reading and math are important subjects to learn, they should not be taught to the exclusion of other important fields of study. It is imperative that students receive a well-rounded education that will prepare them for a wide variety of professions.
Congress is set to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind law within the next year. Please be assured that I am closely monitoring the progress of this legislation, and will keep your views in mind as this issue comes before the Senate.
Thank you again for writing.
This letter appears to be a personal note maybe I am wrong, but we have met because he is also involved with the Amtrak appropriation but that is another soap box.
I noticed your recent posting on the North Jersey ACS Blog, and appreciate your efforts to update people on the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). I would like to make you aware that ACS continues to work tirelessly to include science as part of the AYP in NCLB, and does not promote science as an “optional” subject as stated in your blog. I would be most grateful if you could update your blog to ensure that it accurately represents ACS’ efforts in the reauthorization of NCLB.
Many thanks Jeannette and I hope you enjoy a wonderful weekend!
ACS Education Division
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