“Learning Leadership” column, July/August 2013 edition of eSchool News—The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has eluded Congress for too long. Without Congressional action, the current administration has seized the moment and used regulatory fiat to implement its policies. But many of us feel that the policies being implemented lack counsel from the educators in the trenches.
The voices of teachers, principals, superintendents, and board members go unheeded, and we are on the verge of causing serious harm to an educational system weighed down by federal rules and regulations. The reauthorization effort will re-establish a democratic process that will allow those in the field once again to weigh in with suggestions that might put us back on the road to true education reform.
Unfortunately, bipartisan conversations are not happening, and we have been subject to both parties in both chambers creating their own bills [see story]. Nevertheless, superintendents are encouraged by the fact that there is more agreement than disagreement. For example, the 2011 bill that emerged from the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee shifted responsibility for educational accountability from the federal government back to the state and local levels. A similar approach can be seen in the bill crafted by House Republicans.
Twelve years into a bill expected to be renewed in 2007, No Child Left Behind is still the law of the land, except that waivers can be obtained from its insidious requirements in exchange for other rules and regulations. The 2011 bill called for the elimination of Adequate Yearly Progress, annual measurable objectives, supplemental education services, and the related funding set-aside—music to our ears.
(Next page: What school leaders hope the new law will include)