Now Is the Time for NCLB Forums, Rallies

K-12 Testing

 With President Bush and his allies in Congress pushing for fast reauthorization of the flawed No Child Left Behind law (NCLB), assessment reformers feel a heightened sense of urgency. Communities around the country have held forums and rallies to criticize the current law and call for positive changes, with more planned in coming weeks and months. In April, FairTest Co-Executive Director Monty Neill addressed a forum in Rochester, NY, attended by more than 250 parents, teachers and administrators. In mid-April, Neill addressed a community meeting in Oakland, California, titled "NCLB? Can it be made helpful? What should it include? How can you help?" It was co-sponsored by CalCARE, Oakland Education Association, Oakland Parents Together, Education not Incarceration, and Californians for Justice. Another forum will be held April 20 in Richmond, CA.

 In Kansas, Rep. Dennis Moore has been holding a series of public meetings on NCLB, including one in April where parents and teachers urged Congress to address many of the issues raised by the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB.

A Boston forum scheduled for May 15 is co-sponsored by the organization created by author Jonathan Kozol, Education Action, and the Boston Teachers Union. It will feature Kozol and FairTest's Monty Neill. The Boston meeting will also plan further efforts to press for legislative reform.

NCLB protests were held in April in San Francisco and New York. At the New York protest, Queens Assemblyman Mark Weprin said, "The problem is that because the whole school's livelihood depends on it, the entire school year, and I mean almost the entire school year, is spent preparing for these tests."

FairTest is keeping track of local events so we can list them on our website and encourage more of the same. We invite you to let us know about NCLB-related activities. (Send an email titled "NCLB action in [your location]" to fairtest [at] fairtest [dot] org. If none are scheduled for your area, find some allies (such as the local affiliates of the national groups that have endorsed the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB) and plan one.

The Joint Statement is available here.

FairTest has other resources available for reformers, including:
- Act Today for NCLB Overhaul;
- Seven Ways to Overhaul NCLB"; and
- Forum on Educational Accountability's proposed legislative changes to NCLB