ARLINGTON, Va.–As Congress begins the reauthorization process for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the American Association of School Administrators has released its 2007 Legislative Agenda. ESEA, currently known as No Child Left Behind, is the principal law that establishes federal funding and regulations for K-12 education. AASA´s Legislative Agenda outlines recommendations for a new and improved version of ESEA and calls for a fundamental change in the federal role in education.
"AASA believes the federal government´s role in education is to help provide equal opportunity for each child, and to supplement and support, rather than dictate, state and local education efforts," said Bruce Hunter, AASA associate executive director for public policy. "AASA´s 2007 Legislative Agenda provides guidance on this and other key principles in the reauthorization of ESEA."
AASA´s recommendations for the reauthorization of ESEA include:
*Realign the federal role in education. The federal government should: ensure equal educational opportunity for each child by focusing on those students with the highest degrees of poverty; strengthen, not supplant, state and local efforts in education; keep an oversight role proportional to its financial contribution to local school districts; and coordinate among various federal programs such as health care and housing programs to better mitigate the effects of poverty that have a significant impact on student achievement.
*Focus accountability under ESEA on students with the highest degrees of poverty. However, all students should still be assessed and student achievement data should still be disaggregated by subgroup.
*Grant states the flexibility to use assessment and accountability systems that measure academic progress of individual students, including multiple measures.
*Take into account the individual learning needs of each child when measuring achievement for special education students and English language learners. The progress of English language learners should be measured based on individual student needs and previous education experience with no arbitrary limitations. The progress of special education students should be measured based on individualized needs and conditions.
*Broaden the definition of proficiency to include skills needed for students to be citizens in a global economy, including creative skills, collaborative skills and problem-solving skills, and continue to set standards at the state level.
The AASA Legislative Agenda also provides recommendations on the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, school-based Medicaid claiming, the Universal Children´s Health Insurance, child nutrition, the Higher Education Act, the E-Rate program, the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Self-Determination Act, school vouchers and school safety.
The Legislative Agenda is available online in the AASA Legislative Action Center at www.aasa.org/policy/content.cfm?ItemNumber=7537&token=49189&userID=16163&snItemNumber=7726.
AASA´s public policy experts are available to discuss the proposed changes to ESEA. For more information, contact Bruce Hunter, associate executive director for public policy, at 703-875-0738 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mary Kusler, assistant director of government relations, at 703-875-0733 or email@example.com.
AASA, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders across the United States. AASA´s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. AASA´s major focus is standing up for public education. For more information, please visit www.aasa.org.