Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cong. Miller on "teaching to the test"...

Congressman George Miller (D-CA) took the helm of the Committee on Education and Labor, one of the most important positions on Capitol Hill. The "No Child Left Behind" Act is up for re-authorization this year. The editors of Edutopia Magazine recently sat down the Cong. Miller and asked him questions about his views on the Federal Government's role in education. I thought Cong. Miller's comments on NCLB, particularly points he made about "teaching to the test" were interesting, and have provided some excerpts here:
First of all, what I think we're starting to see emerge from NCLB is that those schools that are starting to be successful -- where more and more students are learning at grade level, are being proficient -- are those that are rejecting the idea of teaching to the test. The drill-and-kill is doing exactly that: It's killing the appetite for learning among the students. They're not doing any better on the drill-and-kill, and they're not doing any better on the test.

But, again, you come back to this idea of engaging students in the learning experience, in the learning opportunity. And we're starting to see where reading is incorporated throughout the entire curriculum, where mathematics is incorporated throughout much of the curriculum, that students are starting to be engaged in a different way, and it starts to appear that they're doing better on some of the exams.

Where there's cooperative learning, where students are learning from their peers, where teachers are sharing their teaching experiences, where they have time to plan programs, to align the programs to the proficiency of the children, there are a lot of successes out there that we have to focus on.

You can read the entire interview here.