Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Suburban Schools Relief Act of 2007

Here's something for you NCLB junkies: a nice summary of the latest from Congress from Mike Petrilli in The Education Gadfly:

One the main reasons NCLB is so controversial is because its  impact can be felt in every school system in the country, including those full  of middle-class voters. Previous versions of the Elementary and Secondary  Education Act (NCLB's official moniker) focused tough-love on failing inner  city schools alone. That's why most of the public never heard of it--and most  of the education establishment never went to war over it. (Remember that the  NEA is weakest in the cities, where the AFT represents most teachers.  Remember, too, that many suburban voters are represented in Congress by  Republicans remorseful that they voted for NCLB the first time around.)  

To be sure, appealing to the suburbs can also lead to worthy  policy revisions. Middle-class voters are probably most irked by the pressure  that NCLB puts on schools to narrow their curricula. (We're irked too.) The latest PDK/Gallup poll found that over half of  respondents believe that ''NCLB's emphasis on English and math reduced the  amount of instructional time spent in the local public schools for science,  health, social studies, and the arts.''

The Suburban Schools Relief Act of 2007

by Michael J. Petrilli <http://ent.groundspring.org/EmailNow/pub.php?module=URLTracker&amp;cmd=track&amp;j=159702440&amp;u=1568121>

The political strategy of George Miller and Buck McKeon, respectively the chairman and top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, has now come into focus: to get an NCLB reauthorization bill through Congress, appease the suburbs and those who represent them. This approach is smart and savvy and sometimes leads to good policies -- but may also leave lots of kids behind.

At issue is a just-released ''discussion draft of their proposal to update Title I, the massive federal program that currently provides $13 billion to the nation's schools in return for tough accountability measures. While leaving much of the current program intact, Miller and McKeon would make several important tweaks that would be felt most directly in the country's leafy suburbs. Surely, this is no accident.

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