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Understanding NCLB

I was glad to see that NCLB addresses the issue of using technology to enhance education. The article raises many good points. First it sets 3 good goals for education. Who can argue with the goals of improving academic achievement, ensuring technology literacy, and encouraging tech integration. I especially liked that it calls for accessibility for all learners regardless of background. I agree with the call to improve parent involvement through access to data. (I am concerned that many districts focus on this and consider this tech integration by itself, but that is a different topic.) What is not addressed here is how NCLB in many ways is the key barrier to many of these goals. By creating high stakes tests that place so much attention on basic skills (not that I am arguing with the importance of reading and math, just how we get there) we force schools to take fewer risks and try fewer innovations. As I stated in an earlier blog, the only districts who would dare try new innovative strategies are the ones who are failing by a large gap. They can not pass using existing strategies and must try new things. However, districts who are close to passing or passing will be forced to continue doing what they are doing so as not to mess up a "good" thing. Furthermore, with so much focus on basic skills, where is the time to explore new 21st century skills? I guess the difference is in the word "enhance". Do we want to enhance education or transform education? Do we want to do what we have always done, only better, or do we want to teach new skills and ideas that will make us innovative, creative problem solvers.