FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Susan Traiman
Business Coalition for Student Achievement Statement on Forum on Educational Accountability Proposals
Washington, DC – The proposals released by the Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA) last week undermine efforts to close the achievement gap, raise standards and maintain accountability in our schools. To combat a dangerous cycle of minimal accountability, low expectations and achievement gaps in our schools, the Business Coalition for Student Achievement (BCSA), representing business leaders from every sector of the U.S. economy, is working together with leaders from both parties to promote standards-based education reform and reauthorization of a strengthened No Child Left Behind Act.
The standards-based reform movement has made progress since the early 1990s to close achievement gaps and improve reading and math scores. In fact, research shows that student achievement is rising in schools, districts and states that are successfully and thoughtfully implementing the No Child Left Behind Act. Therefore, we strongly oppose efforts by the FEA to dismantle accountability in the U.S. educational system.
The recent FEA report advocates for a system in which there would be virtually no accountability for federal spending on education. Demographically-designed assessments and different tests for classrooms, schools and districts would do nothing to help expose or close existing achievement gaps. Instead, it would make information on student achievement and school performance incomprehensible.
BCSA emphasizes that there is nothing in NCLB that restricts educators from using multiple forms of assessment to regularly measure student progress toward proficiency. There also is nothing in NCLB that limits states and districts from testing students in other important subjects. At the same time, it is completely appropriate for the federal government to expect states to set ambitious goals for every student by calling for states to set standards, administer assessments and hold schools accountable for ensuring that all students can read and do math at or above grade level by 2014.
BCSA recognizes that revisions are needed to strengthen the current NCLB accountability requirements and BCSA supports increasing the capacity of states and local districts to provide opportunities for students to achieve. However, we must not turn back the clock to a time when we expected less from some students based on their race, ethnicity, family income or disability.
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.