Friday, October 21, 2011

The beginning of the end for No Child Left Behind?

The Times reports that the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, has approved a bill that “would greatly reduce Washington’s role in overseeing public schools.”
[The bill] would continue to require states to test students in grades 3 through 8 annually in reading and math, but would eliminate most provisions in the law that put the federal Department of Education in the position of supervising the performance of the nation’s 100,000 public schools. The department would continue to closely oversee how states manage their worst-performing schools.
Apparently the bill would release states from the “mandate that schools be deemed failures if all their students were not proficient in reading and math by 2014.” Further, it “would not require states to set any student achievement targets,” and it drops “the requirement that schools evaluate teachers based on student test scores and other methods.”
Civil rights and business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the legislation would so thoroughly eviscerate the federal role in school accountability that they could not support it. But powerful groups representing superintendents, principals, teachers and school boards said they were delighted.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan criticized the bill, which is a point in its favor.

It was a bad idea to put the federal government in charge of our schools, and it would be an even worse idea to keep it in charge after the disaster that was No Child Left Behind. Best of luck to Harkin and the other Senators who support this bill.

No comments: