"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pelosi Promises Major Overhaul to NCLB

It is is a critical time to keep the pressure on to repeal the NCLB school privatization act and to start over. Let them know that a name change is not enough. Call and write your Representatives and Senators. HT to Bob Schaeffer for this:

Stateline.org -- August 9, 2007
by Eric Kelderman

Boston U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) today (Aug. 8) told state legislators Congress would seek a major overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act, which states have protested as an unfunded mandate and unprecedented federal intrusion into schools.

"So different will this bill be from the original No Child Left Behind, that we're thinking of changing it's name," Pelosi told lawmakers gathered for the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

The 2001 federal law, which has riled some state lawmakers and educators to the point of rebellion, mandates annual testing in reading and math for grades 3-8 and once in high school with the goal of making all students proficient in the subjects by 2013-14. Schools that fail to make annual progress face a variety of penalties, from being forced to pay for tutoring to being taken over by the state.

Pelosi said Congress would work to address state lawmakers' concerns that No Child is too rigid for states and provides little money to meet its goals.

“I believe you will be pleased with the legislation that is gathering strong bipartisan support. The bill will be fair and flexible, responding to legitimate concerns by you and others while fulfilling our promise to improve student performance, increase school accountability and provide students with the resources they need to learn the skills that will be crucial to their future success," she said.

David Shreve, an education analyst with NCSL, said states are mostly interested in being able to tailor their testing systems to meet their own needs, including allowing schools to use more than one kind of test to determine proficiency.

Utah Rep. Kory Holdaway (R), a special education teacher, said that extra money from Congress would not be useful unless the law is changed to meet states' needs. "You could increase the money to the full amount {authorized} and still have the same problems," he said.

Pelosi, the first woman elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, also touted Congress' efforts expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for low-income children and money to replace National Guard equipment and protect state authority over those soldiers. . . .

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