Sunday, July 12, 2015

Why I support the Senate bill to revamp No Child Left Behind

Though school may be out, there’s a lot happening in the education world. Right now the Senate is debating a bi- partisan bill to revamp No Child Left Behind, called the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), NCLB officially lapsed in 2007 but is still in force because Congress has not managed to replace it.  The House just passed its version of the bill, called the Student Success Act.  For more on what's in these bills see here.

NCLB was one of the worst laws ever passed.  It led to a high-stakes testing obsession in our schools because it required that all students in the nation would have to score at proficiency by 2014 or their schools would be labelled as failing.  Because 2014 has come and gone, this has allowed Arne Duncan to impose "NCLB waivers"  by making states adopt his wrongheaded preferences for the Common Core standards and evaluating teachers via student test scores.

Now, for the first time in 13 years, there is a real chance to eliminate NCLB, There is a lot of misinformation out there from groups that wrongly insist that the Senate bill would "cement" the Common Core, when the opposite is true.  It actually would bar any Secretary of Education from forcing any particular set of standards or any teacher evaluation system on states from now on.  Though the bill is far from perfect, please check out my post on why I think the current version Senate bill is a important step forward, on Diane Ravitch’s blog. Here is the qualified endorsement of the Network for Public Education (on whose board I sit).  For a good summary that dispels some of the myths that have arisen about ECAA, see this Senate fact sheet.

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