September 5, 2007
The Honorable George Miller
Committee on Education and Labor
The Honorable Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Senior Republican Member
Committee on Education and Labor
The Honorable Dale E. Kildee
Chairman, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education
The Honorable Michael Castle
Senior Republican Member, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education
Dear Chairmen and Senior Republican Members:
On behalf of the Business Coalition for Student Achievement (BCSA), representing business leaders from every sector of the economy, we are pleased to have the opportunity to respond to your request for comments on the staff discussion draft for the reauthorization of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
BCSA recognizes the significant effort of the Committee to gather input on the reauthorization of ESEA over the past two years, and we appreciated the opportunity earlier this year to submit recommendations on the reauthorization.
Central to these recommendations is the belief that any changes to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) should not undermine or reduce the current law’s focus on ensuring that all students are expected to reach at least a state-defined level of proficiency in both reading or language arts and mathematics by the 2013-2014 school year.
At the same time, BCSA has recognized the need for NCLB to provide expanded flexibility in certain areas. In particular, BCSA has been supportive of allowing States to implement well-designed growth models to determine adequate yearly progress (AYP). In addition, BCSA believes school districts should have the ability to target the most significant interventions (related to restructuring) to those schools that are the furthest behind in ensuring all of their students are proficient.
With respect to Title I, our previously submitted recommendations also call for the need for a greater focus on high schools and for schools to ensure graduates have the skills necessary to be competitive in today’s workforce and succeed in postsecondary education.
BCSA is pleased the draft proposal addresses many of these issues. In particular, we support the following aspects of the discussion draft:
However, as we detail in the attached comments, we are deeply concerned about provisions included in the draft that we believe would undermine the current accountability for all students to reach proficiency and would provide a path by which many States would create accountability systems so complex as to be rendered meaningless. While we do not believe it is the intent of the Committee to reduce accountability, the cumulative impact of the implementation of provisions related to multiple measures, indexing and local assessments, among others, would be significantly adverse.
We want to ensure this reauthorization does not result in masking what NCLB has exposed. The fact is that too many students – many of whom are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds – are not getting a high-quality education and are moving through our schools without the basic skills necessary to be successful and productive citizens.
The reauthorization of NCLB provides an opportunity to take the next, and important, step of not just identifying schools in need of improvement, but ensuring they have the tools necessary to reach higher levels of achievement.
The attached comments reflect our views on provisions we feel need to be addressed to strengthen this historic and critically important law.
Again, BCSA thanks you for this opportunity to comment on this draft, and we eagerly look forward to working with the Committee as this reauthorization moves forward.
|Craig Barrett||Arthur F. Ryan||Edward B. Rust Jr.|
|Chairman & CEO||Chairman & CEO|
|Intel||Prudential Financial, Inc.||State Farm|
The Business Coalition for Student Achievement – representing business leaders from every sector of the economy – is committed to supporting policies that improve the performance of the K-12 education system in the United States. The Coalition is co-chaired by Craig R. Barrett, Chairman of Intel; Arthur F. Ryan, Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc.; and Edward B. Rust Jr., Chairman and CEO of State Farm, and is coordinated by Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.