Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Different Take on No Child Left Behind

Coalition including NEA, NSBA would reduce focus on testing.

The Forum on Educational Accountability, a coalition of numerous education and other groups, last week issued a report calling for a shakeup of the No Child Left Behind Act, including less reliance on tests and penalties and more emphasis on teacher training and parent involvement. Among its key recommendations:

• Provide time for staff discussion and collaboration during the school day.

• Offer intensive induction and mentoring support for beginning teachers and mentoring for experienced teachers.

• Relieve school districts of the requirement to spend any Title I funds on student transfers or tutoring. Instead, require districts to spend at least 20 percent of their Title I funds on implementing professional-development requirements.

• Require every Title I-financed “high-needs school” to provide literacy, family-skills, and other programs to families to empower them to help in their children’s learning at home.

• Replace the current system of escalating penalties for schools and districts that do not achieve adequate yearly progress with required implementation of specific systems focused on increased parent involvement and teacher training.

Click here to read the EDUCATION WEEK article on overhauling ESEA/NCLB to make it a valuable tool for educators.

The report seeks to implement the principles of the “Joint Organizational Statement on the NCLB Act,” which has been signed by 106 education, civil rights, religious, disability, and civic groups, including:

• American Association of School Administrators
• Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
• Council for Exceptional Children
• FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing
• International Reading Association
• National Alliance of Black School Educators
• National Council for the Social Studies
• National Council of Teachers of English
• National Education Association
• National School Boards Association