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Pelosi Speaks

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been largely silent about the No Child Left Behind Act. But yesterday she told the National Conference of State Legislatures that Congress will make such signficant changes to the law that it will have to be renamed.

NCSL has been sharply critical of much of the NCLB law, particularly its expansion of the federal role in education. But Ms. Pelosi seems to think they'll like the new version, according to this story on stateline.org.

"I believe you will be pleased with the legislation that is gathering strong bipartisan support. The bill will be fair and flexible, responding to legitimate concerns by you and others while fulfilling our promise to improve student performance, increase school accountability and provide students with the resources they need to learn the skills that will be crucial to their future success," she said

But it's too soon to tell just how those ideas will translate into policy. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., is one of Ms. Pelosi's closest confidantes, and some observers say she's likely to largely defer to him during reauthorization.

3 Comments

Thanks, but information on
the new language that will be transposed
into policy terms would be appreciated
as soon as it is available.

Rep. George Miller could do a People's survey
and provide Ms. Pelosi with what
the people want in these new terms
to reauthorize the Title's under
ESEA of the NCLB Act.

The issue goes beyond NCLB and high stakes testing. The underlying question is what is the basis of educational decision making?

The prevailing wind in education decision making is data based decisions and the counter wind would be value based decisions.

The latter does not exclude data but puts it in the context of examining values. Here conflict arrives because attending to values produces conflict as surely as attending to the values of equality and liberty. And, priorities are decided by politics.

Education decisions are political decisions. Facing that reality gives rise to the question of how should the political educational decisions be made?

I would argue that educational decisons should be made openly and democratically.

Democratic decision making may not be the best way but it is the just better than any of the other ways of making educational decisions. The fall out from the NCLB requirements shows the need for greater attention to making educational decisions open and democratic.

Dear Ms. Pelosi:

Students who are victims of child abuse, sexual abuse, and poverty are not going to perform well on state test. One of my students came to school last spring with a small knife womb in her abdomen. Needless to say, she was below grade level. A student in another kinder class had been regularly sodomized, according to the teacher. Yet another student I had two years ago was living on the street with his family. His teen mother had been sold as a sex slave to an octogenarian in Mexico and had manages to escape. Another second grader was regularly locked in the closet by his mother with the Chuckie Doll as a punishment. He confused a school softball game with the movie "Night of the Living Dead." None of these students did well in school.
No these are not episodes of a lurid tv show. They are actual students in Santa Ana, California.
Basing teacher pay on student performance is putting another pork barrel on the path of an already beleagured work force. Could your legislation be a little bit more unfair?
Let's address the real issue and establish more community centers which teach parenting, hygiene, and job skills in poverty stricken areas. The Delhi Center in Santa Ana is a shining example. This is the real solution to falling test scores.
Stop using teachers to grandstand your political career.

Sincerely,
Holly O'Meara

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