Monday, June 20, 2016

Key problems with Education Department’s plans to implement new K-12 law - The Washington Post

Key problems with Education Department’s plans to implement new K-12 law - The Washington Post:

Key problems with Education Department’s plans to implement new K-12 law


Here is a critique of the rules that the Department of Education has proposed to implement regarding the “accountability” provisions of the new Every Student Succeeds Act,  the K-12 education law that Congress passed last December to replace the 2001 No Child Left Behind law.
One of the reasons that Congress passed the ESSA — eight years later than scheduled — was because many in the education world had come to think that the Obama administration had become too prescriptive and heavy-handed in education policy, which traditionally has been left to local and state agencies. The proposed rules include provisions that critics fear will allow some of the biggest problems of NCLB to continue and allow the department to dictate to states what they must do on issues such as standardized testing for “accountability” purposes.
This post looking at the draft rules was written by Monty Neill, executive director of theNational Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, a nonprofit organization that works to end the misuses of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, educators and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally sound.

By Monty Neill
While the accountability provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) are superior to those of No Child Left Behind, the Department of Education’s draft regulations intensify ESSA’s worst aspects and will have the effect of perpetuating some of NCLB’s most damaging practices.
The draft regulations over-emphasize testing, mandate punishments not required in law, and continue federal micro-management. When the department makes decisions that should be set at the state and local level in partnership with local educators, parents, and students, it takes away local voices that ESSA restores. All of this will make it harder for states, districts and schools to recover from the educational damage caused by NLCB – the very damage that led Congress to fundamentally overhaul NCLB’s accountability structure and return authority to the states.
The Education Department must scrap five specific requirements in its draft regulations, as explained below. If it does not, Congress must ensure the administration follows the letter and spirit of the new K-12 education law.
Most egregiously, the department would require states to lower the ranking of any school that does not test 95 percent of its students or to identify it as needing “targeted support.”  No such mandate exists in ESSA. In fact, this provision violates explicit statutory language that ESSA does not override “a State or local law regarding the decision of a parent to not have the Key problems with Education Department’s plans to implement new K-12 law - The Washington Post:


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