People, Politics & Business

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Duncan On "Morning Joe": A New No Child Left Behind?

CJW, March 16, 2010 12:49 PM


The chess pieces are starting to line up for the passing of a new education law which is morphing from the old No Child Left Behind into what is now called ESEA.  Link here to overview from The New York Times, outlining some of the challenges in its implementation.

" . . .The standardized tests developed by the states under the No Child law focus on measuring the number of students in each grade level in each school who are proficient in reading and math. Now the administration would like to shift the focus to measuring each student's academic growth, regardless of the performance level at which he starts. . . .

"It's a serious blueprint, and one that would be a huge improvement over current law," Michael Petrilli, a vice president at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute who served in George W. Bush's Education Department, wrote in his blog. One feature he liked, Mr. Petrilli said, was that the blueprint would "focus most of its muscle and prescriptiveness on a handful of the worst schools. . ."

 . . .The administration's blueprint would refocus the most energy and resources on about 5,000 truly failing schools, and it outlines several models for how districts could intervene in them. Most would involve dismissing the principal and many teachers.

And this from The Washington Post, with link to full article here:

"The most successful schools, Duncan said, would be rewarded with funding and more flexibility and autonomy. He said that group would include schools with high test scores and those that make large gains -- at least 10 percent of schools in each state, officials said.

As for the large middle group, he said, the government would take a largely hands-off approach. If they started to stagnate, Duncan said, they would get more scrutiny. "Carrots and sticks across the board," he said. "Rewards and consequences."

Here a a few take-aways from two videos below from Morning Joe and NBC Nightly News:

  • Kids won't be tested just on math and reading, but will now include other subjects like history and science.
  • Teacher unions contend that this law still continues to put all onus on teachers through high-stake standardized test scores.
  • Duncan: "political forces" made the previous NCLB (No Child Left Behind) ineffectual.

#1 Morning Joe - Mika Brzezinski, Willie Geist and Donny Deutsch Interview w/Arne Duncan,  Sec'y of Education
#2 NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams:  Interview with Randi Weingarten

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