Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Spellings Report: Funding Requests For The Secretary

United States Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is announcing that grants are available to fund random drug testing of some students.

Until 2002, it used to be that student athletes were the subject of such tests. But in a 5-4 decision, (Pottawatomie County v. Earls) the Supreme Court determined that all middle and high school students who participated in any competitive extracurricular activities could be tested for illegal drug use.

Now if only the Secretary would develop a grant that would somehow require my students' parents to come in for parent-teacher conferences when I need to discuss their children's academic needs. Or if that's not possible, how about a grant mandating parents to return my phone calls? I would even settle for a grant holding parents accountable for giving our school a valid home phone number...

If someone could figure out how to make a cash profit from any of the above, I'm sure that Secretary Spellings would advocate the passage of appropriate federal legislation, tout suit. It could be called the "Parents Are Also Responsible For Student Success Act of 2005." (or PAARFSSA, for short)

But seriously...

As a classroom teacher, I really don't see the Secretary's office doing much to give me the practical tools necessary (as above) to help increase student achievement. But isn't it strange that the mandated percentage of students who must test as proficient keeps increasing each year? And isn't it stranger still that under the No Child Left Behind Act, only educators (and not parents or students) are held wholly accountable for pupil progress?
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