October 16, 2007






NCLB is working to raise student achievement and increase accountability in American schools. Specifically, schools are finding that data, made available through standardized testing under NCLB, benefits students by giving teachers a clear picture of their specific students’ skills, strengths, and areas of need. Stacey Anderton, an award-winning teacher of English and journalism at Saegertown Junior-Senior High School in Meadville, PA, reflected on how NCLB’s accountability measures improved her teaching: “NCLB convinced me that I would have to exhaust every option I could find to give [my students] the reading skills they would need to be successful in life. We [teachers] began to reach out to one another to embrace this task of helping all students move toward proficiency in reading. Schools all over the country, including mine, are using the test results to improve the way students are being taught. It is called ‘data-driven instruction,’ and it makes perfect sense. If something is wrong, work to fix it. In fact, the test results provide empowerment because we are no longer troubleshooting our teaching practices in the dark. We have data to light the way.”

Thea Bayly, an elementary mathematics teacher in the public school district of Carroll County, Maryland, said that while she has always had a good sense of which of her students needed help, with testing data available she can identify the kind of assistance they need. For example, last year Bayly determined that she needed to weave geometry into her math lessons earlier. Bayly and other educators are benefiting from tools that help translate test score results into effective teaching methods. Gregory Bricca, Carroll County’s director of research and accountability, said, "We've talked about monitoring tools for over 10 years," Bricca said. "But certainly [NCLB] has heightened the need and the desire to make sure that [monitoring student progress] is happening." The result has been to give teachers more insight into their students, allowing for lessons that respond to distinctive classes - as opposed to a "one size fits all" education that parents and educators often complain is a consequence of standardized testing.

Recent News on NCLB

“Bush, Others Want Law to Go Beyond Basics,” Education Week, October 12, 2007
When President Bush spoke about the No Child Left Behind Act in the Rose Garden of the White House this week, he added two words to his typical description of the law’s central goal: or above. “Every child must learn to read and do math at, or above, grade level,” the president said after meeting with civil rights leaders who support the reauthorization of the nearly 6-year-old law.  

“Save 'No Child Left Behind.'” Post and Courier, SC, October 11, 2007
While the No Child Left Behind Act needs some fine-tuning, it has clearly enhanced educational accountability and opportunity. Congress should fix it, not scrap it.  A study released three months ago by the bipartisan Center on Education Policy reported significant gains in student performance — and significant reductions in the "achievement gap" between white and black students — since the enactment of No Child Left Behind in 2002. Another CEP study released a few weeks later found that students have spent more time on reading and math during that period.  Thus, NCLB's focus on basics has produced positive results. CEP President Jack Hennings, a former Democratic congressional aide, concluded that NCLB "is clearly part of the mix of reforms whose fruit we are now seeing."   

“Don't leave children or standards behind,” North County Times, CA, October 10, 2007
As President Bush attempts to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, he must preserve the law's central objective -- standards for measuring academic performance.For decades the federal government directed billions of dollars to our schools without demanding much in return. NCLB has put an end to the blank checks and fostered accountability in our schools that was long lacking.  

“Bush Pushes Congress on No Child Left Behind” Associated Press, October 10, 2007
President Bush said that he is open to new ideas for changing the No Child Left Behind education law but will not accept watered-down standards or rollbacks in accountability. The president and lawmakers in both parties want changes to the five-year-old law — a key piece of his domestic policy legacy, which faces a tough renewal fight in Congress. "There can be no compromise on the basic principle: Every child must learn to read and do math at, or above, grade level," he said in a statement from the Rose Garden that was directed at Congress and critics of the law. "And there can be no compromise on the need to hold schools accountable to making sure we achieve that goal."  

“State education commissioner: No Child Left Behind should stay,” The Daily Sentinel, TX, October 9, 2007
The nation’s No Child Left Behind law should remain, along with some of its most controversial planks, the Colorado commissioner of education said Monday.Dwight Jones, appointed this year by Gov. Bill Ritter, visited the Dual Immersion Academy in Grand Junction as part of his plan to visit all of the state’s 178 districts in the coming years.No Child Left Behind, the name given the landmark legislation that required schools and students to show measurable progress, puts an emphasis on increasing scores across all social, economic and ethnic strata.    

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