Washington Post Op. Ed. -- April 9, 2007 by David Keyes
Written five years ago to reduce the "achievement gap," the No Child Left Behind Act has in fact created a gap in American education. Its pressure to raise test scores has caused many schools to give poor and minority students an impoverished education that focuses primarily on basic skills.
Below is a list of ways you can work towards overhauling the federal law. For a few items, we have links for more detailed info. In the near future, we will provide additional links - things like how to organize a forum (#1).
Hold a public forum in your community to discuss NCLB.
Persuade your organizations to pass resolutions calling for reform of NCLB:
The Bush Administration and its Congressional allies are trying to push through fast-track renewal of the fundamentally flawed “No Child Left Behind” law without the public debate it requires.
Now is the time for assessment reformers like you to act. Contact your U.S. Senators and Representative today. Tell them NCLB should not be reauthorized unless all these issues are addressed. Ask them to contact the Education Committee and press for adoption of the reforms listed here.
The House Education Committee is about to adopt language for the next version of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB). It could approve a bill in early July, with the full House voting later in July!
Now is the time for assessment reformers like you to act. The next steps include:
At its best, the idea of adequate yearly progress (AYP) is an effort to prod schools, districts and states to identify and solve two kinds of problems: schools in which most students perform well but some students do not, particularly low-income or minority-group students; and schools in which most students do not meet high standards (using standardized tests or other measures, such as their school course work, or college entry or success).
The following language changes to Title I, Part A, section 1111 of NCLB would encourage more productive assessments:
1. Paragraph (b)(3) ACADEMIC ASSESSMENTS- Summary of key changes: limit mandated state assessments to three grade levels in reading/language arts and mathematics; clarify that assessments shall be standards-based, use multiple measures including performance assessments, and ensure assessment of higher-order thinking and learning.