ShareThis Page
News

Parent involvement encouraged

| Friday, March 26, 2004

Greater Latrobe school officials are asking district parents to let their elected lawmakers know that they want changes in the federal No Child Left Behind law.

"Hopefully, you are all going to help us by contacting your legislators. They need to begin to hear from you," Superintendent Dr. William D. Stavisky said Thursday to a group of more than 60 parents, teachers and school board members.

They gathered at a community meeting at the new Center for Student Creativity, located in the recently renovated senior high school near Youngstown, to hear a presentation on the federal legislation, which was signed into law in 2002.

President Bush has called it "the cornerstone" of his administration.

But according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Stephen Sarokon, No Child Left Behind" was designed to dismantle public education."

The law imposed mandates aimed at raising students' scores on standardized tests. One requirement is 100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014.

Stavisky argued the goal is "unrealistic for students with special needs or who are unmotivated to learn."

He also contended that "the failure cycle is guaranteed" because the inherent ability and socioeconomic status in the normal distribution of people makes the goal unattainable.

"I've been around for a long time in education, and I don't think all kids do well on tests," Stavisky said. "It doesn't mean they're not smart, they're just not good test takers."

"Unfortunately, this evaluates the whole school on the basis of one test on one day," Sarokon added. "We don't want to become just a test preparation center. We want to provide a well-rounded education."

District teachers are now "working their tails off to give kids test-taking skills," Stavisky said.

"And don't assume that the tests are the way they were when you and I were kids," he told parents. "If I could get all the legislators and say, 'Take this test with me, and we'll even take the fifth-grade test,' you would see a lot of squirming people."

No Child Left Behind has a number of other requirements in such areas as teacher proficiency and attendance that many public school officials have decried as unreasonable.

It also imposes sanctions for schools that don't meet its goals and provides "very little" funding to support programs designed to help students who are not proficient, Stavisky said.

"And the sanctions are going to come to every public school, eventually," Sarokon warned. "There have to be changes made to No Child Left Behind."

Stavisky urged parents to contact state and federal lawmakers and "put these issues on their radar screens. They tell me they don't hear from many people."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me