Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Education Budget Signals Sea Change For NCLB

This from the National Journal:

Administration Continues Move
Towards More Competitive Funding
Specifics of the Obama administration's plan for reauthorizing No Child Left Behind, the landmark education bill enacted by the Bush administration in 2002, were laid out for the first time in the budget proposal unveiled today.

The administration put forward two fundamental changes to the structure of NCLB, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: a new yardstick to hold schools accountable for compliance with the law and a shift from formula-driven federal funding to a model that emphasizes competition and performance. Both are controversial.

Renewal designs call for replacing "adequate yearly progress," the key-measuring tool under NCLB, with new and still undetermined standards for college and career readiness. Without the old measurement standards, which require schools to test students on their proficiency in English and math, the bill's original goal of having 100 percent of students proficient in these areas by 2014 is essentially null.

The budget proposal includes $14.5 billion for states to adopt accountability systems linked to college- and career-readiness standards -- but those standards don't exist yet. Ostensibly, the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a state-led effort to produce common standards in English and math for grades K-12, will create them. Every state but Texas and Alaska has signed on to Common Core, and Secretary Arne Duncan has often praised the initiative's efforts. However, Common Core has yet to produce a finalized version of the standards. The administration says it will work with congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle to create the new accountability system in the coming months...


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