Tuesday, September 04, 2007

NCLB is working, but it's 'a journey'

An interview with Education Secretary Margaret Spellings:

Q: You mentioned the 2,300 chronically underperforming  schools that have gone five years without meeting the NCLB  standards. Yet it seems that all they're doing is swapping an  assistant principal in and out or shifting the curriculum a bit. Meanwhile,  the states are throwing up their hands and saying, "We don't  have the money to fix this," and daring the feds to come in and do something.  So in the end, nothing happens, right?

A: That's one of the big issues in NCLB reauthorization. For  those schools, right now the menu and the statute of what constitutes  restructuring — real restructuring — is hugely anemic. It says charter,  re-establish, anything else you feel like. So the accountability trajectory in  NCLB actually gets less robust than more robust. The things that happen in the  early years are more vigorous than the anemic options later, which is why we  need to change it.

Q: So what should  change?

A: We need more intensity around these chronic underachievers.  The president believes that ought to be real school choice, tutoring, charter  schools. ... I mean, serious, serious intervention. So more intensive  resources, not only for those schools, but also for those schools at risk of  drifting that way.


NCLB is working, but it's 'a journey'
Interview with Margaret Spellings

Question: NCLB has elicited frequent criticism from school administrators around the country. What are you hearing, and what is the best way to ease these concerns?

Answer: We're shining a bright spotlight on under-achievement in this country, and it makes a lot of grownups uncomfortable. No doubt about it. But that's the point. And, you know, the law is really very simple on its face. Test every kid every year. Disaggregate the data. Get them on grade level by 2014.

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