Mama went to first grade at Chesser school about five miles north of Red Level.  It was 300 yards from her house on land her father donated.  She walked home for lunch.  It had two rooms with the younger children in one, the older ones in the other.  Just one teacher.

This was in 1928.

Obviously this was a very different time and place.  Still she learned to read and write and graduated from high school.  There were no data meetings, no distance learning, no National Assessment of Education Progress tests, no Title 1, no one on one computer programs.  Just a pot-belly stove for heat and books and a blackboard (I think).

OK.  So now I am about to sound like a complete naysayer.  (Dear Lord, I’ve become my daddy.)

But what in the world have the grownups done to education since mama went to Chesser school?  Have we lost sight of the fact that school is all about what happens in a classroom between a teacher and a student?  We have conjured up mound after mound of paperwork and rules and regulations in the name of what?

Of course I will be taken to task.  Some will say, “Since you are not an educator, you just don’t understand.”

Well, they will be right about one thing, I don’t understand.

Congress has just passed the Every Student Succeeds Act to replace No Child Left Behind.  Alabama is now starting to work on a plan to implement this new law.  I have been doing my homework trying to better understand ESSA.  Below is a paragraph I just ran across in a publication from the U.S. Department of Education about what is going on.

What accountability requirements must a State and its LEAs meet in the 2016-2017 school year?

Section 5(e)(1)(A) of the ESSA provides that ESEA section 1111(b)(2), as authorized by NCLB, is effective only through August 1, 2016. Section 1111(b)(2) contains the requirement that each State that receives Title I, Part A funds must develop and implement a single, statewide accountability system, including establishing annual measurable objectives (AMOs), defining adequate yearly progress (AYP), and holding Title I schools and LEAs accountable under ESEA section 1116. Accordingly, sections 1111(b)(2) and 1116 are no longer in effect after August 1, 2016. Instead, under section 5(e)(2) of the ESSA, a school or LEA that is identified in the 2015-2016 school year as a priority or focus school under ESEA flexibility (see B-3) or as a school or LEA in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, as applicable, under NCLB (see C-4) must continue to implement interventions applicable to the school or LEA through the 2016-2017 school year. A State that is not implementing ESEA flexibility may, but is no longer required to, ensure that its LEAs offer public school choice, supplemental educational services (SES), or the related notice to parents during the 2016-2017 school year (see C-4 and C-5).

Honest, I choked when I read this.

No.  It is not 1928.  We live in a vastly different world.  But the English language is still English.  And numbers are still numbers.  And we still have schools with classrooms of children and a teacher.

And if mama were still in the first grade at Chesser school, would someone please tell me how the info in the paragraph above would benefit her?