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President Obama Says “No” To No Child Left Behind

Do you know anyone who thinks No Child Left Behind is awesome?  Who actually supports the law as it stands?  I don’t personally know anyone who does, certainly not the President or Secretary of Education.  Now, I don’t actually know either of them personally, but when they talk they have a whole team of people who let the world know what they've said so I sort of feel like we’re friends, friends having a big old one-sided conversation that only gets two-sided every four years. 

Last week Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that over 80% of schools would likely be labeled as “failing” according to the standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act.  He insists that it’s the law that’s broken, not necessarily the schools.

"The law has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed. We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible and focused on the schools and students most at risk,” said Secretary Duncan.

President Obama has urged congress not to let another school year go by without fixing NCLB. 

“We need to make sure we’re graduating students who are ready for college and a career,” President Obama said.  “In the 21st Century, it’s not enough to leave no child behind. We need to help every child get ahead.  We need to get every child on a path to academic excellence.”

The president’s plan to fix No Child Left Behind has four main components.  I’ve simplified them below but feel free to read the entire press release:   

•             One Clear Goal: All Students Graduate College and Career Ready – This component of the President’s plan focuses on reforming each state’s lowest performing schools and supporting the creation of better student assessments.

•             A Great Teacher In Every Classroom and A Great Principal In Every School - The focus here is on supporting and improving our educators by helping states create better systems to recruit, prepare, develop, reward, advance and retain effective teachers. 

•             Fostering Innovation and Focusing on Results - This includes a continuation of the Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation Fund, with a new focus on supporting school districts that show the drive and ability to implement sustainable comprehensive reforms.

•             A 21st Century Education for Every Student - The President wants to give states and local schools greater flexibility to develop and implement outstanding curriculum and instruction techniques that advance creativity and ingenuity.

So how about you?  Do you think the president’s plan will make a positive difference?  It sounds good to me but I think we need to see implementation before we know for sure. 

What would you do to fix NCLB?  And if you’re someone that thinks it’s a great law, I’d love to hear why.  Your camp isn’t getting much representation. 

Kathryn Thompson is a mom to two school-aged kids, a toddler, and a deceased betta fish. She can also be found at The Parenting Post, and occasionally the gym.