From the Tribune's "The Edge" yesterday (for some reason I can't find it online):

Quote of the week “We’re not the only state that’s not col­lecting experience levels. Any state that doesn’t have a huge computer system in its education depart­ment isn’t going to have this informa­tion.” That was Montana school Superintentent Linda McCulloch, responding to a federal No Child Left Behind report that the state is one of 37 that failed to adequately document the qualifications of teachers, especially those serving low-income and minority students. The state will submit more information, McCul­loch said, but it is unable to collect all the information the feds want. “In order to collect that information,” she said, “you have to have a huge com­prehensive data system. And of course no money came with NCLB to have that kind of system.”

Call me crazy, but with a budget of nearly three quarters of a billion dollars, you'd think there would be some room for a computer database. Seriously, isn't one of the mandates of OPI to hire qualified teachers? So, why do they need additional money to do something we already expect of them?

That's my whole problem with the 'unfunded' argument of No Child Left Behind. If you assume that the learning standards are reasonable for the grade levels for which they are set, and I have not met a teacher who thinks they are not, then why is any 'extra' money needed? Aren't we already paying to educate those kids to grade level? Or are our tax dollars only good to ensure 60% or 70% meet grade level?

That being said, I recognize the problem requiring developmentally disabled kids to learn at grade level. That, though, seems like it could be fixed.


david said...

I'm confused -- is it my feeble brain, or do they really just need a basic survey of the teachers and someone to load all the data into, say, a simple MS Access (or MySQL, whatever) database?

Better: can't it be done via a web survey?

Surely this can't be as complicated as McCullough implies - can it?

SallyT said...

No, McCullough is only whining to distract from the actual point--that schools are failing kids. Typical educrat reaction to questions of accountability: "we need more money!"

BTW, my mother points out that, when she worked in the Department of Education (wa-a-ay back in 1961), every teacher in the state was required to have his/her qualifications on file at Dept of Ed. Where's the intrepid reporter who can ask, 'Has this procedure been abandoned? And why?'

Anonymous said...

I would have to argue the point "schools are failing kids" Kids fail because they do not learn what is needed to receive a passing grade. Could be that kids and their parents are not being held accountable for failing grades, instead teachers and schools are blamed. Virtually every poor student I know of has little or no parental involvement in their schooling. I have discussed this with many educators, and they all say teachers can only do so much. Money will not make more kids pass. Another aspect of our social dependance on the blame game.

GeeGuy said...

You bring up a good point, Anon. It is not all the fault of the school system. We can debate all day why parents are less involved now than they used to be.

But the bottom line is this. The school system is responsible for educating our children. It is their job to do it. If the environment in which they are to perform changes, they must adapt just like the rest of us. If I am a defense lawyer, my job gets harder when we have a plaintiff oriented court. Is it my job to blame the court? No, it is my job to get good results in the context in which I am expected to work.

a-fire-fly said...

Sorry, that's me.
The school system is responsible for educating our children. But if a child never does his homework, or shows up late or not at all, and gets poor grades, it is not the fault of a underqualified or underpaid teacher, and throwing more money into the pit will not help.
I guess I see it as the school system has the responsibility to provide the best possible education for our kids, but as parents we need to make sure our children utilize that opportunity.
There will be times the best lawyer in the world cannot have a 100 percent success rate.

a-fire-fly said...

"But if a child never does his homework, or shows up late or not at all, and gets poor grades, and it is not because of an underqualified or underpaid teacher, throwing more money into the pit will not help"

Sorry again.Redo.

marvin said...

The OPI leader made a simple statement: Administration bureaucrats are making demands that local and state governemnts cannot afford under current budgets. If Washington DC sets a requirement, then pay for it if the states are short on money.

Montana is one of many states having problmes meeting the costs imposed by this national administration. Maybe it's time for a change in the DC culture.

deepmoat said...

How do we know they aren't getting enough money for this? Every report I've seen on the topic indicates that federal spending for education has jumped dramatically under NCLB