Principal to Congress: I was wrong when I supported NCLB. Learn from my mistake.
|George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind education measure into law in 2002. (WIN MCNAMEE/REUTERS)|
Eight years after No Child Left Behind was supposed to be rewritten by Congress, it just may happen — sooner rather than later. Sen., the Republican from Tennessee who just became the chairman of the Senate education committee, says he is determined to move fast on a rewrite, pushing a bill to the Senate floor by the end of February.
Perhaps the most contentious issue facing Congress is what to do about the mandate that all students in Grades 3 -8 and once in high school take standardized tests with high-stakes consequences. In draft legislation, Alexander is offering two options in regard to the mandate; one calling for the continuation of that assessment schedule and the other calling for giving local educational agencies power to determine whether it wants students to take annual standardized tests. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has urged that the testing mandate remain, and Sen. , the key Democrat on the Senate education committee, agrees. The American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teachers union, is calling for “grade span” testing in which students continue to be tested as NCLB mandates but the results are only high stakes once in elementary, once in middle school and one in high school.
Alexander has asked for input from the public on his staff discussion draft by Monday, February 2, at: FixingNCLB@help.senate.gov. Comments will be shared with all members of the Senate education committee.
Here is an open letter to Alexander and his committee about the NCLB rewrite that was written by an award-winning principal, Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York. She was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010, tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. Burris has been exposing the botched school reform program in New York for years on this blog, and it is worth reading. Some of her earlier posts are listed at the bottom.
Here is her open letter to Alexander:
Dear Senator Alexander:It is time for a time-out from annual testing. No Child Left Behind has not delivered its promise to children, but instead denies them the enriched education that they deserve. I clearly remember when NCLB began because I supported it.I was convinced that if we could see the gaps in test results, we would identify the opportunity gaps that caused them, and then create more equitable schools. I believed that NCLB results would inspire us to desegregate our schools and our classrooms. Surely there would be more financial support for schools with high needs kids. I thought that children who were falling behindPrincipal to Congress: I was wrong when I supported NCLB. Learn from my mistake. - The Washington Post: