The ESEA reauthorization proposals adopted by the U.S. House and Senate and now in Conference Committee contain serious problems that make the plans unfeasible and potentially harmful to efforts to improve public schools. The major problems include:
Essential test-related elements of Bush plan: The proposals will be part of the reauthorization of ESEA (which includes Title I). States required to test all students in grades 3-8 in reading and math to measure students and schools, with reporting on progress for “disadvantaged” as well as all students. Sanctions for failure to improve include vouchers. Significant progress on state tests yields rewards for schools, with National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to be the measure of state progress.
The new federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will put all schools whose students have not made "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) on state assessments into a "needs improvement" category and then if AYP is still not met enact a series of sanctions that can culminate in firing staff, state takeover, turning it over to private management, or making it a charter. (For details, see materials here as well as selected articles in FairTest Examiner.)
FairTest staff have studied the legislation ("No Child Left Behind Act") and consulted with additional sources to prepare the following analysis of the testing and accountability provisions. The Act is very detailed and long, and we apologize for any errors in this summary and analysis. We will amend this document to correct any errors brought to our attention.
The key testing and accountability provisions of the new, 1000-plus page Elementary and Secondary Education Act ("No Child Left Behind Act") are in Title I, the part of the Act historically intended to improve education for "disadvantaged" children.
for further information: Karen Hartke or Dr. Monty Neill (857) 350-8207
for immediate release, Thursday, May 31, 2001 MCAS GAINS ARE UNRELIABLE BASIS FOR “HIGH PERFORMING” SCHOOL AWARDS; ANNUAL SCORE INCREASES OFTEN ARE NOT SUSTAINED; FAIRTEST ANALYSIS SHOWS YEAR-TO-YEAR CHANGES MAY RESULT FROM “LUCK OF THE DRAW,” SMALL STUDENT POOLS, “LOSS” OF LOW-SCORERS
Both houses of Congress have included requirements in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which includes Title I remedial education, to test all students annually in grades 3-8 in reading and math, even though only 15 states now have all that testing.
Today's release of National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) Trial Urban District Assessment results "shows once again that test-driven school 'reform' is failing to improve education for the nation's most needy children," according to Monty Neill, Ed.D., Executive Director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.