View Full Version : Senate Moderates Release NCLB Overhaul Plan

03-03-2011, 11:47 AM
This from Education Week (http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/03/02/23esea.h30.html?tkn=ZLZF7hNFySfs2p7mae2vwS5kbm3ZpM ZnG%2F%2Fe&cmp=clp-edweek) by Alyson Klein:
A group of moderate Democratic senators released a set of principles Wednesday for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that largely echoes the Obama administrationís vision for overhauling the law as outlined in the administration blueprint (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/index.html) put forth almost a year ago.

Still, the statement of principles marks the first time in recent years that a group of lawmakers has come together with a vision for revising the current version of the law, the No Child Left Behind Act, which was slated for renewal back in 2007.

ESEA renewal ďhas got to be a top priorityĒ for this Congress, said U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., who worked with Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., the administrationís key Senate ally on K-12 issues, to lead the development of the moderatesí ESEA wish list. Nine of their colleagues signed onto the proposal.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who was on hand when the senators unveiled their ideas at the Walker-Jones Education Campus, a pre-K-8 school in Washington, gave the lawmakers a thumbs-up for moving on education.

ďEverywhere I go, people are begging us to fix this law. We have to do it together,Ē Mr. Duncan said, reiterating his call to pass the renewal by August.

It remains to be seen whether the Bennet-Hagan approach will appeal to moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats, whose support will be needed to get an ESEA reauthorization bill through the Senate. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who is the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, has said he would like to see a bill introduced by Easter.

The principles outlined Wednesday call for revising the accountability system at the heart of the NCLB law so it focuses on student growth over time, as opposed to the current system, which compares different cohorts of students to one another. Many states are already using such measures through a pilot project at the U.S. Department of Education that was started by Duncanís predecessor, Margaret Spellings.

The lawmakers also want to offer rewards or incentives to schools that are making major jumps in student achievement. That idea is similar to the administrationís Title I rewards proposal, unveiled in the presidentís fiscal year 2012 budget request, which would, in essence, give money and flexibility to schools that help students make progress.

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