House Republicans push plan to update NCLB

“The last time the federal government left accountability completely to the states, two-thirds decided to donothing; only two states included the performance of individual groups of students in their systems. The rest took action in name only, setting targets too low or too vague to meaningfully drive student improvement,” the coalition wrote. “The students we represent cannot withstand the risk of Congress allowing states to return to old habits—aiming low and abandoning children deemed too difficult or inconsequential to educate. The draft, as written, would invite such a result.”

Harkin’s committee last year passed a bipartisan bill to update the law, but the administration expressed concerns with it, and it did not come up for a vote in the full Senate.

NCLB was designed primarily to help the nation’s poor and minority children. It was passed in 2002 with widespread bipartisan support and has been up for renewal since 2007. It requires annual testing, and districts were forced to keep a closer eye on how all student groups were performing, not just relying on collective averages.

Schools that didn’t meet requirements for two years or longer faced increasingly harsher consequences, including busing children to higher-performing schools, offering tutoring, and replacing staff. Supporters of the law said a strong federal role was necessary because states and local districts had historically shown an inability to teach all students.

The law requires that all students perform at grade level in reading and math by 2014, which is a deadline schools are increasingly failing to meet.

For more on NCLB reform efforts, see:

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