I found this article on The Washington Post. It’s an interesting new twist to the public education reform debate. In it, a national grassroots organization called Parents Across America outlines its own blueprint for the rewriting of No Child Left Behind.
Congress has been considering how to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act. For those who’ve heard of it, but may not know what it is, a little history. NCLB was originally proposed by the administration of George W. Bush immediately after he took office. The bill, shepherded through the Senate by co-author Senator Ted Kennedy, received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.
NCLB supports standards-based education reform, which is based on the belief that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education. The Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools. The general consensus today is the NCLB is broken and must be revisited.
Parents Across America believe, “[NCLB] has dramatically harmed our local schools with its overemphasis on high-stakes testing, narrowing of the curriculum, and punitive unfunded mandates that have been especially harmful to schools with high-needs student populations. What it has not done is improve achievement.” They’re against:
· Policies that use standardized test scores as the most important accountability measure for schools, teachers or students, and/or expand the use of standardized testing in our schools.
· Competition for federal funds; a quality education is not a race but a right.
· “Parent trigger” laws, vouchers, charter takeovers or other forms of school privatization that take resources from the schools attended by most students and put them into private hands, with less oversight.
· Limiting federally-mandated school improvement models to a narrow set of strategies, including charter schools and privatization, which are favored by corporate reformers but which have had little verified success.