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NCLB: Are the fixes worse than the flaws?


Parents and teachers don’t like it. For many students, it has failed to produce the promised benefits. And experts agree it urgently needs to be fixed. But as controversial as No Child Left Behind is, there is perhaps even more controversy about how to fix it, CTmirror.com reports. For some Connecticut officials, in fact, this fresh debate over federal education policy looks like a choice between bad and worse. The Obama administration in March unveiled a “Blueprint for Reform” that outlined sweeping changes to the law, including, among other things, scrapping No Child’s 2014 deadline for all public school students to reach proficiency in math and reading in favor of making them “college- and career-ready” by the time they finish high school. But critics say the White House’s proposed fix, even if it solves some issues, could also create a new set of problems. “It’s just not a good fit for Connecticut,” said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who sits on the House Education and Labor Committee. Courtney ticked off several problems he has with the White House proposal, starting with the administration’s move to make competitive grants a more permanent feature of federal education funding. Courtney and others fear that such a shift could translate into a significant disadvantage for Connecticut, which has more than 160 local education agencies–one for nearly every town or city in the state–instead of larger, county-wide school districts, as many other states have. “The notion that towns could engage in competitive grants” is not tenable, Courtney said. The town of Union, for example, with its 700 or so residents, would not be playing on a level field against Broward County, Fla., population 1.6 million…

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