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Local Educators React to 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver Submitted: 02/24/2012
Rhinelander - On Wednesday, Wisconsin education officials applied for an exemption to the federal education madate 'No Child Left Behind'. So far 11 states have been granted those exemptions.

In Wisconsin, 'No Child Left Behind' has caused some serious divides in the education community

"Good teaching isn't about teaching to a test. Good teaching is about finding out where you're kids are at, finding out what they need to know- not necessarily for a test- but just for what they need to know to do well in school, or beyond school," says Northwoods Community Secondary School teacher, Wil Losch. "I happen to feel that teaching to the test is a good thing. If that test is in fact, what you're teaching in your curriculum," says retired area teacher and coach Pete Biolo.

Still, the question remains whether it's achieved its goal of improving education standards, or improving the way we test for them.

"Being able to have every kid, at the same level, at the same time, is really an unrealistic goal," says Northwoods Community Secondary School Principal, Teri Phalin.

"When you do something like that, you really have to align the testing methods that you use with the student population," says Biolo.

"Kids mature at different rates, they have different backgrounds, and so really to measure them by one single test, doesn't work. Kids also have different learning styles, so if the assessment tool only favors one of those learning styles, it's just not accurate," says Losch.

Those seeking a waiver to 'No Child Left Behind', say their new plan will allow for more flexibility, and perhaps more localized teaching.

"I think in Northern Wisconsin we got issues going on here that we can learn about governance and natural resources. We've got hot mining debates going on. What a great way to learn about earth science, or state governance structure," says Losch.

If Wisconsin's waiver request is approved, the state will set it's own performance targets, and track progress by more measures than test scores alone.

Written By: Kailey Burton

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