In The News

Editorial and Op-ed Archive September 2007

September 30, 2007 - Montgomery Advertiser - “ALABAMA VOICES: Doing What Works”
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.

September 29, 2007 - Courier Post - “State school aid has given poor kids a boost”
With test scores for N.J. 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.

September 28, 2007 – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - “A needed change agent; now make it better”
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.

September 18, 2007 - Hartford Courant -  “Stick to High Standards”
There have been many NCLB success stories in Connecticut. In Hartford, Jumoke Academy, a charter school in the North End, was removed from the watch list for meeting federal goals two years in a row. Betances School, despite being in one of Hartford's poorest neighborhoods, made an enormous leap in reading and math scores, the largest in the district. Lawmakers should concentrate not on ways to ease restrictions, but on how better to help teachers and school districts meet the challenge of No Child Left Behind and beyond. 

September 17, 2007 -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution  - “No Child Left Behind Needs Lift, Not Recess”
The federal No Child Left Behind Act forced a new and ambitious standard on public education that prevented schools from masking or ignoring low achievement. Districts could no longer hide behind average scores or trot out their top performers. Every student – whether poor, minority or special education – was expected to learn. No Child Left Behind remains the best hope for at-risk students to wrest a good education out of a system that has historically been indifferent to their needs.

September 13, 2007  - Washington Times - “The Good and Bad of NCLB”
As Congress debates the complexities of reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act, a proposal from Rep. George Miller, California Democrat, runs the risk of watering down the intent and spirit of the program, which both Republicans and Democrats agree should be renewed before its expiration Sept. 30. Members on both sides of the aisle considering the revamping of NCLB would do well to look at the success of D.C., where a voucher program has allowed thousands of students to escape failing public schools for private or charter schools under grants and laws authorized by Congress. Studies have indicated parents are happy with the program, their children are performing better and student bodies are more diverse and integrated because of it.

September 12, 2007 – New York Times - “What’s Good for Children”America’s business community was an early advocate of reform and a prime mover in the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, which required the states to improve public schooling for all students. With Congress gearing up to reauthorize the act, business leaders are rightly raising their voices in an attempt to prevent the teachers’ unions and their political allies from weakening this important law. The Business Roundtable, an association of chief executives from the nation’s largest companies, spoke out forcefully this week. At a House hearing, the Roundtable’s president, John Castellani, cited troubling provisions in a draft reauthorization bill that would allow schools to mask failure in teaching crucial subjects like reading and math by giving them credit for student performance in other subjects or on alternate measures of performance.

September 11, 2007 - New York Times - “Teachers and Rights Groups Oppose Education Measure”
Dianne M. Piché, executive director of the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, said the bill had “the potential to set back accountability by years, if not decades,” and would lead to lower standards for children in urban and high poverty schools.

September 10, 2007 - Washington Post - “Leaving No Child Behind”
With House hearings on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act beginning today, The Post asked educators, lawmakers and others for their views of the legislation and what might improve it. Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust, said, “While we continue to press for closing the achievement gap and preparing all students for the real-world challenges of college and career, the federal law must maintain a laser-like focus on ensuring that all students are proficient in reading and math.”

September 10, 2007 - Washington Post - “Save School Standards”
Congress should resist attempts to water down the No Child Left Behind law. The debate on No Child Left Behind begins in earnest this week, and the outcome will be determined by one fundamental question: Does this country want to make schools better -- or just make schools look better? If Congress is true to the noble idea that all children, no matter their races, family incomes or circumstances, can learn to read and do math, it must reject suggestions that make a charade of standards and accountability.

September 7, 2007 - New York Times - “Really Leaving No Child Behind”
If all of the nation’s children are to get the education they deserve, Congress needs to strengthen the No Child Left Behind law. Mr. Miller’s draft contains some important reforms that deserve to become law, but much of that good will be undermined if states, schools and teachers are not held accountable for the quality of education they provide.

September 3, 2007 – The Virginian-Pilot – “Spotlight on failure is NCLB’s virtue”
Critics of the federal No Child Left Behind law need to visit the 547 students at Petersburg's Vernon Johns Middle School and the 443 children at Richmond's Chandler Middle School and explain their skepticism. Those 990 youths, plus thousands of other disadvantaged students, have risen from invisibility to the pinnacle of public attention in no small measure because of the law. Now, as Congress prepares to debate re-enactment, such children need to be front and center in the public consciousness. Even in a state that sets relatively high standards, and prides itself on being a great place to raise children, the federal law adds a critical layer of accountability.