October 11, 2007
BUSINESS COALITION FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
NCLB: WORKING AT A LOCAL LEVEL
Legislation for reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is expected to be introduced by the end of October. As BCSA awaits introduction of reauthorization legislation in the House of Representatives, we are working closely with members of the House and Senate, including Representative George Miller, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, and Representative Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, Senior Republican member of the Committee, to ensure that any bill that is introduced maintains NCLB’s strong focus on accountability.
As you may know, BCSA is an active member of the NCLB Works! campaign. The campaign’s diverse members are urging Congress to strengthen NCLB because it has been instrumental in focusing our nation on improving academic achievement for all students. The campaign is working at the grassroots to garner active support for reauthorizing a strengthened NCLB, and offers ways for citizens to get involved at http://www.nclbworks.org.
This week’s news update highlights several examples of how NCLB is working at the local level nationwide, as well as recent news on NCLB.
“State school aid has given poor kids a boost,” Courier Post, September 29, 2007
With test scores for New Jersey black and Hispanic students leading the nation, the state is obviously on the right track. New Jersey's black and Hispanic fourth-graders are making strides in closing the achievement gap with white students, according to results from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). The NAEP is meant to compare student achievement across the nation. The information can be used to assess how well states are doing in complying with the Bush administration's 2002 No Child Left Behind law, which sets minimum achievement standards for students. It is clear from the test results that New Jersey's efforts to provide extra help to poor black and Hispanic students are paying off.
“ALABAMA VOICES: Doing What Works,” Montgomery Advertiser, September 30, 2007
Alabama led the nation in 2007 with an 8-point gain on fourth-grade reading scores, and when historically Alabama always finished close to last, it is now within close striking distance of the national average and beyond. The highest, most elite category of student rankings, Advanced, saw a national average of 7 percent of the nation's students being so classified. Alabama met the national average with 7 percent of our students earning the Advanced status, up from 4 percent in 2005. More good news includes the 13-point gain by black students and the 14-point gain by students in special education.
“Texas bests nation on testing gap,” Express-News, September 26, 2007
In Texas, for the most part, the achievement gap between Anglo and minority students, including Hispanics, narrowed between 2005 and 2007, according to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Debbie Graves Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency, said nearly three decades of breaking out test scores by ethnicity and gender has helped Texas improve its results.
“Assessment results show closing achievement gap,” Shakopee News, September 28, 2007
African-American and Hispanic students narrowed the achievement gap in reading and mathematics, according to the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The NAEP also showed Minnesota students again surpassing the national average in reading and mathematics. "Minnesota’s focus on improving academic achievement, raising accountability and increasing rigor are helping to close the achievement gap," said Education Commissioner Alice Seagren.
“No Child Left Behind Faces Contentious Reauthorization,” McClatchy Newspapers, October 4, 2007
In the five years since No Child Left Behind was enacted, resistance to the law has created some strange political adversaries and bedfellows in the halls of Congress and among education advocates. Business interests are allied with civil rights organizations in wanting the law reauthorized. "It's enlightened self-interest for the business community," said Susan Traiman, the director of education and workforce policy at the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of large companies. "The graduates of our schools are our future workforce. When people graduate schools without the skills they need in high school or college, it costs taxpayers' dollars to remediate them."
“NCLB is a goal worth meeting,” Statesman Journal, October 3, 2007
The reauthorization of NCLB is currently under debate in Congress. Do we have room for improvement? Absolutely. Thanks to NCLB, the goal is clear — all students performing at or above grade level in reading and math by 2014. That’s a goal worth meeting and a stronger law will help get us there.
“Schools move slowly ahead,” Roanoke Times, October 1, 2007
Virginia's African-American and Latino students, as well as students from economically disadvantaged households and English language learners, all showed steady growth over both the national averages, and over their 2003 and 2005 scores. Nationwide NAEP results also showed that achievement at all levels is increasing. "These results refute the false premise that increased attention to our lowest-performing students means that progress among higher achievers must be sacrificed," observed Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust. "Learning is not a zero-sum game."
“A needed change agent; now make it better,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 28, 2007
No Child Left Behind officially expired on September 29, and all eyes are now on a reauthorization discussion draft put out by two Californians: Rep. George Miller, a Democrat, and Rep. Howard McKeon, a Republican, chairman and senior minority member, respectively, of the House Education Committee. NCLB has focused the nation on the goal of preparing all students to do well in the world in which they will find themselves. The law should be kept and improved.
For more information, visit http://biz4achievement.org/