Republicans are hatching an ambitious plan to rewrite No Child Left Behind this year — one that could end up dramatically rolling back the federal role in education and trigger national blowouts over standardized tests and teacher training.
Well this is good news!
Lobbyists swarmed Capitol Hill in December to sway lawmakers’ positions in chaotic education debates over how often to test students and what role — if any — school vouchers should have in the law. These debates are set to erupt in January, though some groups have put themselves ahead of the curve: The National Education Association, the country’s largest teacher’s union, has been pushing to roll back testing requirements for years and is seizing on recent anti-testing sentiment in the states to make a fresh case for getting rid of annual tests on Capitol Hill.
School vouchers ???? Why not ? They are less cumbersome that charter schools and finally charter schools would get real competition. But wait!!!! Charter School of Wilmington being a corporation could fold as charter school and reopen as a private school. But wait !! They can’t manage money and that’s why they never left home! Cheap rent from mommy and daddy Red Clay!
Civil rights groups say they were caught a little off guard by the sudden resurgence of debate over this aspect of NCLB. They fear Congress will strip core provisions of the law but hope that the national conversation about race sparked by recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City will help keep a spotlight on civil rights.
Little we’re talking Title 1. Markell already stripped Title 1 section 1118 in his wavier request. But don’t worry that part will be saved and the accountability clock will be reset.
Rep. George Miller, the outgoing ranking member of the House education committee and an original author of NCLB, said he anticipates the business and civil rights communities will rein in lawmakers when it comes to keeping the law’s testing and accountability requirements.
“There’s no future for the NEA in being anti-civil rights for poor and minority children. Historically, that’s never been their position,” Miller said.
Title 1 will survive and Section 1118 will be restored to it’s fullest.
Now the draft bills released by Kline and Alexander have become starting points for next year’s NCLB push, and the White House may be forced to stake out new positions on the bill. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said the administration can’t support any bill that turns back annual tests — and some Hill watchers familiar with the department expect him to stick with that policy.
Duncan is going to get dunked in center court!
Because of congressional turnover and changing politics, some key lawmakers are undecided on big issues. The blowout controversies in NCLB actually amount to only a handful of sections in the 600-plus page law: when and how to test students, how to punish low-performing schools — if at all — and what the law should do to promote good teaching. A host of other critical provisions, like the formula used to allocate money to school districts that serve low-income children, are badly in need of updating but haven’t been touched in years.
So now perhaps we’ll see weighted funding!
He and Kline have said they’re open to scaling back annual testing, though some suspect they’re capitalizing on the chance to grab hold of an issue they can use as a bargaining chip down the line.
There you go!! The federal legislators leading the charge on testing opt-out!
Anti-testing advocates say tests cut into instructional time, forcing teachers to teach only tested content and taking creativity out of learning for students. They see a number of solutions: Students could be tested every other year or a handful of times throughout their school careers, or a sample of students could be tested rather than an entire class.
Wow this would be great! Random testing!
The problem, Polikoff noted, is that these arguments for keeping tests don’t appeal to parents or the public.
For the civil rights community, collecting annual data allows parents to know how their children are doing, and to an extent, just having the data public can shame schools into doing better.
“We see this as a civil rights bill,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
“I am hard-pressed to understand how you give states federal money with no strings attached,” Zirkin said.
Give parents the right to opt-out
Even with that fast timeline, the 2016 elections will loom heavily over the debate, said Lindsay Jones, director of public policy at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
“The megaphone that gets given to people who are going to run for president will be given very quickly,” Jones said. Senators who are expected to announce bids for the Republican nomination, from Rand Paul to Rob Portman, have been vocal on education in the past.
And now is the time to have a hard conversation to hammer either repealing NCLB or reauthorizing NCLB. Also a good time for a balancedbudgetamendment