Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A Better Way to Fix No Child Left Behind

Lamar Alexander with a NYT op ed on his proposed legislation to fix NCLB:

Earlier this month, several senators and I introduced a set of five bills that would fix the problems with this important federal law.

No Child Left Behind, created through a bipartisan effort in 2001, set a goal that all 50 million students in our nearly 100,000 public schools would be proficient in reading and math by 2014. There would be state standards and tests, and requirements that our 3.2 million teachers be "highly qualified." Schools failing to meet "adequate yearly progress" standards would receive federal sanctions. For parents, there would be more school choice, including new charter schools.

Almost a decade later, however, it is likely that nearly 80 percent of American schools will soon fail to meet the adequate yearly progress standards.

My colleagues and I agree with the Obama administration that after a decade of federal rules, more responsibility needs to go back to the states. No Child Left Behind has made one thing clear: when it comes to education reform, the states are both highly capable and highly motivated. Since 2002, 44 states and territories have adopted common core academic standards, two groups of states are developing common tests for those standards and 44 states are collaborating on common principles for holding schools accountable for student achievement.

Many states and school districts are also finding ways to reward outstanding teaching and to include student performance as a part of that evaluation. That may seem like common sense, but until Tennessee created its master-teacher program in 1984, not one state paid one teacher one penny more for teaching well.

Our legislation would scuttle entirely the Washington-imposed adequate-yearly-progress requirements set by No Child Left Behind, and would instead require states to set their own high standards to promote college- and career-readiness for all students. We agree that all states should aim to make their graduates capable of entering higher education or the workforce. But we also believe there are many ways to get there, and states should have the flexibility to find the ones that works best for them.  


September 26, 2011

A Better Way to Fix No Child Left Behind



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