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School budget cuts: why not NCLB first?

 
 
Reply Fri 2 Jul, 2010 07:44 am
My state (and maybe yours?) is seriously cutting school budgets this year. Some of our proposed cuts are:

Eliminating PE in all elementary and middle schools.
Reducing high school staff by 10%.
6-10 days from the school calendar.
28 special education positions.
All ESL classes.
Not filling any open positions.

So I started wondering what No Child Left Behind costs. I'm having a hard time finding info for my state but I did come across this:


Quote:

VIRGINIA

The Costs of Fulfilling the Requirements of the NCLB Act for School Divisions in Virginia. (September, 2005) Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, Inc.

In September 2005, the Virginia Department of Education released a cost study that found that local school divisions will have to spend $62 million, $60 million, $61 million and $65 million more than they are receiving from the federal government, through fiscal year 2008, to administer NCLB. The study covers the costs of meeting the laws requirements (i.e. compliance cost) but does not cover what the state will have to spend to actually get students to pass grade level tests and close the achievement gap (i.e. proficiency costs).



NEW MEXICO

The Cost of Fulfilling the Approved Procedural Requirements
of NCLB in New Mexico (May, 2005)
Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, Inc.

New Mexico conducted a cost study in May 2005 that found the state was going to have to spend $37 million, $31 million and $26 million more than it is receiving in new federal dollars for 2003-2005 school years, respectively. This includes estimated state and district level costs. However, the study covers the costs of meeting the law's requirements (i.e. compliance cost) but does not cover what the state will have to spend to actually get students to pass grade level tests and close the achievement gap (i.e. proficiency costs).



CONNECTICUT

Cost of Implementing the Federal NCLB Act in Connecticut
State-Level Costs: Part I (March 2, 2005)
Local-Level Costs: Part II (May 4, 2005)
Connecticut State Department of Education

The Connecticut State Department of Education reported that through FY 08, it will cost the state approximately $41.6 million to administer NCLB. These are state level costs only; a report on local costs for just three school districts found an additional unmet cost of $22.6 million. The study covers the costs of meeting the law's requirements (i.e. compliance cost) but does not cover what the state will have to spend to actually get students to pass grade level tests and close the achievement gap (i.e. proficiency costs).



HAWAII

Estimating the New, Marginal Costs of NCLB in Hawaii (July, 2004)
Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, Inc.

In July 2004, a study commissioned by the Hawaii legislature found it would cost $191 million between 2003-2008 to meet the requirements of NCLB. Developmental costs were estimated at an additional $24.6 million. The study covers the costs of meeting the law's requirements (i.e. compliance cost) but does not cover what the state will have to spend to actually get students to pass grade level tests and close the achievement gap (i.e. proficiency costs).



MINNESOTA

Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor Report on NCLB (February 26, 2004)
Joel Alter and John Patterson

The Minnesota State Auditor found difficulties with NCLB regulations to be widespread, including the testing of students with disabilities and limited English proficient students. The February 2004 State Auditor report estimated the cost to the state for student testing alone to be $19 million annually. The study also reported on the costs of supplemental services, school choice and school restructuring.



OHIO

Projected Costs of Implementing the Federal "NCLB Act" in Ohio (December, 2003)
Prepared by William Driscoll and Dr. Howard Fleeter for the Ohio Department of Education.

The state of Ohio commissioned an NCLB cost study to investigate how much the law's regulations would cost Ohio. In December 2003, they found that $1.4 billion annually would be placed on the backs of Ohio taxpayers to comply with all of NCLB's rules and regulations through the 2013-2014 school year.


Teachers are already really overburdened with crowded classrooms and no money to do anything -- how are they even supposed to teach the test information? Not to mention other valuable information that is not tested for.

It makes sense to me to suspend (or completely ditch) NCLB until the economy improves.

However, I fully confess that my knowledge of how this stuff works dog paddles in the shallow end of the pool, so I'm asking those of you who understand this stuff:

Would suspending NCLB help our schools weather the immediate crisis?

Thanks!
 
Stormwatch
 
  3  
Reply Fri 2 Jul, 2010 08:53 am
@boomerang,
I’m certainly no expert, but I do think we are fighting a losing battle trying to keep up with the demands of NCLB in this current economy. I’m not in support of how NCLB operates anyway, but without proper staffing and funds it’s a sinking ship.

I’m a sped teacher in a district that used to have a very good reputation for educating and preparing students for the future. In the past three years we have begun a downhill slide very rapidly. Teaching positions have been cut, class sizes doubled, administration sharing duties for 2 or more schools, and art, music, foreign language and unified arts cut back severely. PE appears safe at the moment as it is mandatory in our state curriculum. We teachers have been working without a contract for three years.

Our top administration ( which btw continues to get yearly raises…go figure) has been sinking tons of money into buying new “programs” with built in assessments that are in line with district tests and state assessments..it’s all about testing and making AYP. Because if you become a SINI ( school in need of improvement) by NCLB standards then there’s real hell to pay.

The trouble is, no program no matter how good it is, is going to be end all beat all solution to kids not making the grade if there is not adequate staff to implement the programs. You cannot meet individual needs of students when you have 26-28 eight year olds in a room. A teacher ends up going through the motions of delivering a program, making sure every lesson is taught, but has no time to individualize. How is that going to help students pass tests?

By sinking every ounce of energy and money into making the grade into reading and math we cut what people consider the “enrichment activities” such as the arts and languages. When this happens we are really cutting the success rate of students who have a natural strength in these areas as opposed the academic world.

It’s not a good situation all around but I do agree that money should not be thrown at keeping NCLB afloat at the expense of the real everyday functioning of students and teachers in the classroom.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jul, 2010 09:15 am
@Stormwatch,
Thank you for your reply, Stormwatch!

My son is a SpEd student so I truly appreciate the work you do.

You hit the nail on the head with:

Quote:
money should not be thrown at keeping NCLB afloat at the expense of the real everyday functioning of students and teachers in the classroom.


Do you know what would have to happen to get NCLB suspended?

Most of the teachers I've talked to hate NCLB. I wonder if their union would be willing to voice an opposition to the program in light of the financial distress schools are facing.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jul, 2010 10:47 am
I came across this factoid:

Quote:
According to the Office of Management and Budget, No Child Left Behind increased state and local governments' annual paperwork burden by 6,680,334 hours, at an estimated cost of $141 million dollars.[8]


$141,000,000.00 for NCLB paperwork every year.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2007/03/The-Administrative-Burden-of-No-Child-Left-Behind
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jul, 2010 04:06 pm
I guess I'll just use this thread as a clearinghouse for information I find....

Here you can find links showing the difference between funding promised and funding recieved: http://www.nea.org/home/1230.htm

Oregon: http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/AL_-_OR_or-title1fy02-09.pdf
(Cumulative = $650 million between 2002-2009)
0 Replies
 
linki
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Sep, 2010 06:59 pm
It is reasonable to expect our children to pass what other countries would see as remedial. Our country's schools are 25th & 30th for math and science. NCLB is a good idea that may need refining, not eliminating. Our classroom hours are spent on things that families should teach - such as sexual behavior and recycling. Today our schools are more interested in telling our children what to think about social issues and morality and the like and so spend much less on the important things like math, science and English. The money we spend in each state (up to $4,000 per month for retired teachers - plus their pensions plus extremely over-paid administrators) could be better spent. But it is not a financial issue if you think about it. It is more about using the time the children are in school to make it count. P.E. is NEEDED. Cuts or co-contributions to pensions and new realistic (not state bankrupting) measures need to be in place. The HUGE amounts of excess money saved can be better spent in our classrooms and brining back PE. PE (every day for 20 to 30 min) has PROVEN in study after study to increase cognitive ability, increase focus and help children score higher on tests. It has been proven over and over. PE is essential - children learning about how terrible America is to other countries, how they can grow up and be gay if they choose to, how Darwin is the theory that is acceptable and how to make pretty posters for earth day and recycle our trash etc., are things that the kids should and can learn at home and on the TV (which floods us with that anyway). It's not finances - it is cuts... It is not good to stop NCLB and leave our children even more dumbed down - recession or not. End these windfall teacher and admin union based pensions (or at least have them supplemented by teachers/admin, toned down, and in the reality of what states can achieve and you will save plenty of money.
linki
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Sep, 2010 07:07 pm
@boomerang,
"""Most of the teachers I've talked to hate NCLB. I wonder if their union would be willing to voice an opposition to the program in light of the financial distress schools are facing. ""

Most of the teachers object to the pressure of needing to actually have their child learn substantially. It puts too much pressure on teachers and doesn't allow them to slack off and get paid for it. Accountability is a bit** - but in the real world, people are accountable. This lack of accountability and the rewards for slackers being that of those who truly care and work hard to teach should not be the same. The unions are the problem, but have convinced teachers that they are the solution. The bankrupting of states because of deals made with unions are real. Teachers should realize that very very very soon, there won't be any money for their pensions. I am sure any thinking teacher would prefer a few less extreme benefits in the end, some more contributions to their own pensions and a few minor adjustments (that would save the state's financially in a HUGE way) is a small price to pay now for certainty in their future. Better more guarantees now than completely broken ones in the future. Accountability in the classroom, more for the teachers who are performing well, more reasonable deals now so the future can be a reality and less talk and whining about how hard NCLB is -- GAD.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Sep, 2010 08:13 pm
@linki,
This is one of the precious few areas in which I support President Obama, but I wouldn't look for union help in getting rid of NCLB. Obama supports charter schools, and that is a red light with the teachers' unions.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 03:18 am
No child left behind is a disaster, not only for the costs, but the distractions. Lessons plans have gone right out the window as teachers rush to assure that the students they are supposed to teach are filled up with the standardized BS they are then expected to regurgitate.

To me, though, biggest irony is that this came from a conservative Republican president and congress. After decades of howling about "unfunded mandates" they come up with the biggest unfunded mandate to which the states have ever been exposed.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 03:55 am

I don 't recognize either of the Bushes as being conservatives.
Thay just got lucky that Reagan chose to BALANCE
his own conservatism. Note that religious fanaticism is NOT
conservative, in that this did not reflect the vu of the Founders.
Thay did NOT create a theocracy.

I have no opinion of NCLB, tho it was my impression
that W was just bloviating, in the face of accusations of stupidity.

Just speaking for myself, when I was a kid in school,
I found P.E. annoying; it did us no good-- waste of time.
I had better use for my time. (I did not participate, but I had to hang around.)
I questioned that government had ever been granted jurisdiction
to impose this demand on our time.





David
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 04:19 am
You've got some faulty thinking going on there. Religious fanaticism is the very quintessence of conservatism. Religious dogma does not change, not over periods of thousands of years. If anything, there is a tendancy to get more dogmatic and entrenched over time. Some religious groups (the Unitarians come to mind) do make an effort to tailor their belief sets to contemporary attitudes--but by and large, religion is not at all about change, and is all about keeping things the same, about conserving their position.

You may refer to conservatism in the contemporary American sense of a political attitude, but even there, many people who identify themselves as conservatives would be likely to disagree with you.
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 06:18 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
You've got some faulty thinking going on there.
Religious fanaticism is the very quintessence of conservatism.
Maybe; that depends on WHAT is being conserved.
Definitionally, the Founders, e.g.: George Washington, Ben Franklin, James Madison established the extant political paradigm.
Thay were NOT religious fanatics.
If any of them had been (such as if someone like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell had been active among the Founders)
then there 'd have been a struggle, a dispute, over whether to found a theocracy.
That did NOT happen. None of the Founders advocated that.
Conservatism means orthodox, non-deviation from the paradigm,
which was and is the US Constitution. Pat Robertson 's pro-theocracy views ARE deviant; hence, he is not a conservative,
at least not as to matters of religion as represented in the Constitution. To a lesser extent, that also applies to the Bushes.








Setanta wrote:
Religious dogma does not change, not over periods of thousands of years.
If anything, there is a tendancy to get more dogmatic and entrenched over time.
Agreed.







Setanta wrote:
Some religious groups (the Unitarians come to mind) do make an effort to tailor their belief sets to contemporary attitudes--but by and large, religion is not at all about change, and is all about keeping things the same, about conserving their position.
Its about THEOLOGY.




Setanta wrote:
You may refer to conservatism in the contemporary American sense of a political attitude, but even there, many people who identify themselves as conservatives would be likely to disagree with you.
People can say a lot of things; that does not make them accurate.





David
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 08:35 am
@linki,
You won't get an arugument out of me about too much class time being spent on bullshit but I don't see our school talking so much about social issues and morality (thank goodness). (But don't get me started on the cult of self - esteem building.) And I totally agree about PE.

But there is no way I'll ever agree that NCLB is in any way, shape or form, a good idea.

Here's what I think would be a good idea: Get rid of all the "enriching" crap plastered around the classroom, ditch the "pods" and line the desks up to face the teacher, and give letter grades so that we can tell how well our kid is doing in comparison to the rest of the class.

I think school has become too "touchy-feely". But I really blame parents for making it happen.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 08:40 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Religious fanaticism is the very quintessence of conservatism.


there's a lot of truth distilled in that one sentence
0 Replies
 
 

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