Wednesday, June 10, 2015

As Congress debates No Child Left Behind: Who should decide which schools are failing kids? - The Washington Post

As Congress debates No Child Left Behind: Who should decide which schools are failing kids? - The Washington Post:

As Congress debates No Child Left Behind: Who should decide which schools are failing kids?


From Rand Paul on the right to Elizabeth Warren on the left, members of the Senate education committee pushed aside their policy disagreements earlier this spring when they voted unanimously in favor of a bipartisan revision to the widely reviled No Child Left Behind law.
But key differences remain to be resolved in both chambers of Congress before the rebranded “Every Child Achieves Act” can make it into law. Among the stickiest: how and whether Congress should define which schools are failing to serve students well and need intervention.
It is an issue that has not only divided the parties but also pitted two traditional Democratic allies — civil rights groups and the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union — against each other.
Now the Congressional Tri-Caucus has sided with dozens of civil rights groups and the Obama administration. In a letter to the Senate on Wednesday, more than 80 members of the Tri-Caucus said they cannot support the bill without key changes, including a requirement that states take action at schools that are failing to serve subgroups of children, such as those who are low-income, African American or English learners, or those who have disabilities.
Specifically, the Tri-Caucus — made up of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus — wants the federal government to compel states to act when a school fails to meet testing targets for subgroups of students two years in a row.
That type of change is anathema to many Republicans, who see it as a federal overreach, and to the NEA, which likens it to a return to the test-centric and overly punitive provisions of No Child Left Behind. But members of the Tri-Caucus say that the requirement is key to ensuring that states do not overlook the nation’s neediest children.
Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Va.), the ranking Democrat of the House education committee, said he and his colleagues are seeking a new law that “honors the civil rights legacy of the law and fulfills the needs of all of America’s children.”
The 2002 No Child Left Behind law was so unpopular in part because of its rigid definition of a “failing” school — any school in which one subgroup of students, such as African American children or those with disabilities, failed to meet test score targets set by the federal government. Schools that were As Congress debates No Child Left Behind: Who should decide which schools are failing kids? - The Washington Post:

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