The current version of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), called "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB), needs fundamental change. The Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA) has submitted legislative language based on the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB to the U.S. House and Senate Education Committees that would remake the law into an effective tool for school improvement.
“No Child Left Behind,” the name of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, describes a worthy goal for our nation. Tragically, the legislation will exacerbate, not solve, the real problems that cause many children to be left behind.
The current wave of test-based "accountability" makes it seem as though all assessment could be reduced to "tough tests" attached to high stakes. The assumption, fundamentally unproven, is that such tests produce real improvements in student learning better than do other educational methods.
As recognized experts in the fields of early childhood development and assessment, we write to express our concerns about plans proposed by the Head Start Bureau to implement a National Reporting System for all 4- and 5-year-olds in Head Start in the Fall of 2003. We agree in principle with the need to conduct ongoing child assessments. However, we are troubled by both the timing and structure of this new proposed effort.