There is so much going on at school right now I don't know where to begin. Actually, I know exactly what I'd like to say but just don't have the time. What else is new?
Here's a quick wrap-up
The district office of Social Studies has decided that all 27 high schools will test for each unit of Government on the exact same day. And the test will be provided by the district -- no modifications for inclusion or Honors classes. Teachers will no longer teach the curriculum in the order they see best fit (doing electoral politics in October/November during presidential election years and March during local election years, etc.) Teachers will be required to provide an individual class breakdown of how many students missed each individual question to the department head, who reports it to the principal, who reports it to the district office. For me, among a zillion other unintended consequences, I think it is bad for teacher retention. People don't become teachers to work in an assembly line. They become teachers because they think they have good ideas about how to teach. But No Child Left Behind is making that impossible.
Also, starting next year, about a third of the freshman class will have, in addition to their English class, TWO periods of reading. This means for many of the average and low performing students their schedule will be as follows:
2 periods of Algebra (implemented this year)
3 periods of English
1 of Government
1 of Biology
That's it. No P.E. No music. No band. No art. No foreign language.
I absolutely agree we need to do something about reading. But how much is a kid going to learn in 7th period when the only break he has had all day is 25 minutes at lunch. Frankly, I wouldn't be able to stay on task that long.