A draft proposal being floated by Representative George Miller, chairman of the House education committee, would soften many of the law’s accountability provisions while maintaining its overall strategic goal: to bring every student to proficiency by 2014 by requiring states to administer standardized tests and to punish schools where scores do not rise.
The changes, circulated this week by Mr. Miller, a California Democrat, and the committee’s ranking Republican, address the most persistent complaints against the law, by suburban districts, by middle-class parents, by states with large immigrant populations and by teachers unions who are crucial to Democrats’ 2008 electoral fortunes.
For the suburbs, for example, Mr. Miller’s draft would draw a distinction between schools failing across the board and those where only some student groups failed to meet annual testing goals. It would give a nod to teachers’ concerns by allowing states to consider not just annual math and reading scores in deciding whether a school passes muster but other measures, including tests in history, science and civics; graduation rates; and Advanced Placement tests.
For states with many immigrants, it would allow students not fluent in English to be tested in their native language for five years.
But in a sign of the difficult political calculus in extending a measure that has opponents on both the right and the left, for every supporter of the proposed changes there has emerged an opponent. ...
This from the New York Times.