Arizona Republic
July 28, 2007

(Phoenix, AZ)Author: Tana Anderson, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2
Teachers are grappling not only with new demands on their own training but also with other mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The act, implemented in 2002, is up for renewal this year. It sought to hold students and teachers accountable for achievement in hopes of raising the educational standard and closing the educational gap among subgroups and ethnicities.

While many educators are on board, some believe NCLB forces them to tailor their curriculum to accommodate the tests and it sets unrealistic goals.

Jane Anderson, a Kyrene Akimel A-al social studies teacher, said she has to teach to a test and it's hard to fit in critical-thinking exercises. She said she's lost autonomy.

Under NCLB, 100 percent of students are expected to perform at grade level by 2014.

"You can't have 100 percent of anything. That's perfection," Anderson said.

She said she wants to see smaller class sizes, a task hard to achieve with a teacher shortage.

Sue Knudson, a parent and president of the Kyrene School District board, said she would like to see schools receive credit for incremental improvements.

She said that while some students might not be considered performing at grade level, they are improving.

On July 3, Tom Horne, Arizona superintendent of public instruction, announced that the U.S. Department of Education approved a new Arizona growth-model program that will evaluate student academic progress. Arizona is among seven states to receive this approval.

The program will not replace the testing or the expectation to have 100 percent of students performing at grade level by 2014, but it will be an enhancement to the evaluations.
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Tempe Republic
Page: 6

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Record Number: pho172606417