Duncan offers ‘guiding principles’ for rewriting NCLB

He acknowledged that state and local budget shortfalls “are going to make this a brutal year in many districts.” But challenges often lead to opportunities, he said, adding: “Now is the moment to start rethinking policies that are not serving the best interests of students and teachers in the classroom.”

If your distance-learning programs are not what they should be, he said, think about what you can do to improve them. If your teacher recruitment and retention are lagging, build partnerships with area colleges. If you have a persistently low-performing school in your district, make turning around that school “the capstone of your career, not the cross you have to bear.”

In many districts, he said, “programs and policies have grown like rings on an oak tree, without any real attention paid to the return on investment [in terms of] student achievement. If … superintendents don’t address these issues now, they are likely to get worse.”

(Editor’s note: For more news from this year’s AASA conference, including a sobering wake-up call from Geoffrey Canada, CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, see the AASA page in our Conference Information Center.)

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Dennis Pierce

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