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:
1) Keep pressure on the leadership, especially Chairman George Miller. Demand they make needed major improvements (as outlined below) and allow substantial time for discussion and amendments. Tell your Rep. to deliver this message to Mr. Miller. (See contact info at the bottom.)
2) If your Representative is on the Education Committee, ask her or him to vote “No” to any bill or parts of the bill that do not make sufficient changes in the law. Ask them to propose amendments to advance the key changes and to take leadership on these issues.
3) Focus on key changes needed in the law:
• End unrealistic "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) requirements. Expect schools to make reasonable progress based on real-world rates of student improvement.
• Require testing once each in elementary, middle and high school, scrapping requirement to test in grades 3-8. Over-testing takes time away from real teaching and learning.
• Assess academic progress using multiple sources of evidence, not just standardized test scores. Provide funding to help states and districts develop locally-based, performance and classroom assessments to improve teaching and learning as well as accountability.
• Replace the test-and-punish approach with support for improving educational quality. Expect all schools to take reasonable steps to improve, including use of high-quality professional development and strong parental involvement. Replace current sanctions-based system with a focus on targeted assistance.
4) Get other people and organizations to fax, call, or write Congress. Tell your Representatives and Senators to rely on the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB and the legislative recommendations of the Forum on Educational Accountability to guide their votes on reauthorization of NLCB. http://www.fairtest.org/FEA_Home.html.
House contact info:
Rep. George Miller, Chair, House Education Committee, 2181 Rayburn, Washington, DC 20515; 202-225-3725; fax 202-226-5398.
- Your Rep. may be home over July 4 week – try to meet with her or him!