This post was originally titled “No Child Left Behind Reauthorization Process Begins – Maybe – & It’s Complicated,” but I’ve since converted it into a “Best” list.
There have been some interesting developments this week around the possible reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act:
First, in timing obviously coordinated with U.S. Secretary Duncan’s planned announcement the next day, a coalition of civil rights groups came out in support of maintaining annual standardized testing in any new law. I think they’re making a mistake, but I can see why they might see its importance — it’s probably fair to say that many schools wouldn’t have provided as resources as they did to support students of color without some of the accountability provisions tied to standardized tests in NCLB. I don’t think you have to have annual tests to maintain the same pressure, though, and I hope our unions can be in conversations with the groups. Also, I’ve got to say — how in the world can The Education Trust be considered a “civil rights group”?
Then, Arne Duncan announced that any reauthorization must retain the annual testing requirement that currently exists, which teachers unions criticized. Instead, the unions said they want grade-span testing — only testing in one elementary, middle school and high school year (see Arne Duncan: Why Change When We Can Continue To Do The Same Thing Wrong?).
Next, Senator Lamar Alexander released a draft bill that provided two options for testing — one keeping the annual assessments we have now and the other leaving most decisions up to the states and including the possibility of grade-span testing. It received a number of reactions.
The next day, The Center For American Progress (a think tank) and the American Federation of Teachers came up with a new position on annual standardized tests. Now, the AFT won’t oppose keeping annual tests – “But, the scores from the exams should only factor into state accountability systems once in each grade span (elementary, middle, and high school).” The NEA appears to be maintaining its same position in pushing for grade-span testing, but also appears to be leaving the door open.
If there has been private horsetrading behind the scenes to get this kind of deal in return for eliminating requirements to have student test scores used in teacher evaluations, then I think this AFT proposal could be a decent deal (and is one I actually included in my 2015 Predictions). I’m not thrilled about wasting a couple of weeks a year in students taking the tests, but this kind of compromise could be “half a loaf, not half a baby.” However, if they haven’t received solid indications from Alexander and Duncan that they’d be open to that kind of compromise, I’ve got to question its wisdom. At the same time, I think Randi Weingarten and AFT leaders are very politically astute, so I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
Bruce Baker has written two great posts that speak to the debate going on about annual standardized testing (in relation to the potential reauthorization of No Child Left Behind):
Cutting through the Stupid in the Debate over Annual Testing
What Will Become of No Child Left Behind? is from The Pacific Standard.
Student testing: Deciding when enough is enough is from The Associated Press.
A new bill could mark the beginning of the end of the Common Core is from The Washington Post
Timely Ohio report could change the ESEA testing debate is from The Fordham Institute.
House Education Panel Head Endorses Annual Student Testing is from The Associated Press.
Senate begins debate on education law, focuses on testing is from The Washington Post.
Senators grapple with how much students should be tested is from The Associated Press.
A guide to No Child Left Behind as Congress tries to rewrite the law provides very good background on the issue and appears in Vox.
Senate appears unlikely to push for test-based teacher evaluations in revised law is from The Washington Post.
Testing and Civil Rights is by Renee Moore.
Teachers union, think tank propose compromise on testing of U.S. students is from The Washington Post
Red Flags Raised on Plan to Let Title I Aid Follow Students is from Ed Week.
Left Behind? The Effect of No Child Left Behind on Academic Achievement Gaps is from The Center For Education Policy Analysis. It provides a critical assessment of NCLB’s effects.
Top senators agree to start over on bipartisan federal education law is from The Washington Post.
What Would It Mean to ‘Fix’ No Child Left Behind? is an excellent Room For Debate piece from The New York Times.
More than 500 researchers sign NCLB letter to Congress: stop test-focused reforms is from The Washington Post.
No Child Left Behind Law Faces Its Own Reckoning is from The New York Times.
Is America Nearing the End of the No Child Left Behind Era? is from The Atlantic.
Senate Plan to Revise No Child Left Behind Law Would Not Measure Teachers by Test Scores is from The New York Times.
How Education Policy Went Astray is from The Atlantic.
For New Federal Law, We Should Be Asking Why and How We Test, Not Just How Often is by Linda Darling Hammond.
No Child Left Behind reborn as ‘Every Child Achieves’ is from The LA School Report.
Sen. Jon Tester seeks to end annual standardized testing is from The Washington Post.
Everyone wants a new education law, but debate will feature disagreements is from The Washington Post.
Lawmakers Move to Limit Government’s Role in Education is from The New York Times.
Negotiators Come to Agreement on Revising No Child Left Behind Law is from The New York Times.
The fight over K-12 education appears headed back to the states is from The Washington Post.
House leaves ‘No Child’ education law behind is from The Washington Post.
No Child Left Behind replacement would give other states the freedom California has already claimed is from The Los Angeles Times.
President Obama Signs Into Law a Rewrite of No Child Left Behind is from The New York Times.
No Child Left Behind Is Gone, But Will It Be Back? is from The Atlantic.
INSIDE THE EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT is a big collection from Ed Week.
— Politics K-12 (@PoliticsK12) March 4, 2016
Education Department proposes rules for judging schools is from The Washington Post.
U.S. Dept. of Education releases draft regulations for new federal law is from Ed Source.