FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13 , 2007
CONTACT: Tita Freeman
(202) 496-3269 or
Business Coalition Recommends Ways to Strengthen the No Child Left Behind Act
Testimony Before Bicameral Hearing Urges Reauthorization this Year
Washington, DC – The Business Coalition for Student Achievement, representing business leaders from every sector of the U.S. economy, participated today at a bicameral hearing titled “Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization: Improving NCLB to Close the Achievement Gap.” Arthur Rothkopf, Senior Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, represented the coalition at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor and the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing.
Rothkopf stated that the Business Coalition for Student Achievement remains committed to the tenets of the No Child Left Behind Act. In his testimony, he urged the Committees to “move forward with reauthorization and to build upon the successes of NCLB,” particularly in the following areas which include excerpts from the testimony:
- FOCUS ON COLLEGE AND WORKPLACE READINESS – We know that educators are finding it difficult to help students reach today’s standards. However, all of the analyses of current State standards and tests conclude that they are not aligned with the expectations of college and the workplace. The law needs to include incentives for States to raise their standards and avoid lowering them.
- EMPHASIZE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH – NCLB includes a major focus on reading, which is appropriate. As we move forward, the law needs to continue to make early reading a priority while also adding an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math.
- ENHANCE DATA-DRIVEN DECISION MAKING – Perhaps the most difficult thing that business leaders have encountered in our efforts to help improve education has been the absence of good, reliable data. It’s impossible to imagine running a company without the use of valid data to inform decisions. The quality of the data has improved over the past five years, but the data systems in many States and districts are antiquated and need to be overhauled.
- INCREASE TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EFFECTIVENESS – One of the areas where the current law did not accomplish its objectives has been in making sure that all students are taught by highly qualified teachers. The Coalition believes that the law needs to expand its focus to effectiveness rather than just compliance to ensure that our teachers are not only “highly qualified” but also “highly effective.”
- STRENGTHEN AND REFINE ACCOUNTABILITY – The law should provide guidance on ways that States can differentiate among districts and schools that are close to or far from making AYP, and ensure that resources for improvement focus on those with the highest concentrations of underperforming students. We also support provisions that would permit States to use rigorous measures of year-to-year growth in student academic achievement and other methods verified by the Secretary that are consistent with the goal of all students reaching proficiency in reading, math and science.
- INVEST IN SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT AND ENCOURAGE INNOVATION – Our last point brings us full circle to the rationale for the law. It is not to punish schools. It is not to make educators look bad. It is about improving schools. It is about improving student achievement. It is about investing in what research has proven works while also discovering new models and innovations. We want to increase the capacity of States and other entities to better assist schools that need help making AYP; target funding, assistance and distribution of effective educators to high-need schools; and continue support for innovative models, such as charter schools, diverse providers and techniques that effectively integrate technology into appropriate aspects of teaching, learning and management.”
John J. Castellani, President of Business Roundtable, which is spearheading the coalition with the U.S. Chamber said, “No Child Left Behind provides a foundation for U.S. competitiveness by ensuring that all students have the solid footing they need for lifelong learning. By setting clear academic benchmarks for every child to attain in school, NCLB helps prepare U.S. students to succeed in our rapidly changing world.”
For more information about the Business Coalition for Student Achievement, visit biz4achievement.org.
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.