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Miller: New Measures Would Be Reliable, Tutoring Would Be Available

In his remarks this morning, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said he was working closely with Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on NCLB reauthorization.

But in his conference call with reporters this afternoon, he made it clear that they don't see eye-to-eye on some key sections of the bill.

Twice, he referred to the secretary's assertion last year that the law is "99.9 percent pure."

"There's no evidence on the street that that's the case," he said.

The chairman of the House education committee also responded to Secretary Spellings' speech today, in which she criticized the several elements of the House education committee's discussion draft. The accountability proposal, she said, would take away the focus from reading and mathematics.

He said that states would need to prove that all new measures would accurately gauge student achievement in other subjects. The accountability system still would emphasize reading and math, but the tests in other subjects would be an additional indicator of a school's success or failure.

"We think this gives a more accurate measure of schools, students, and teachers," he said, "rather than deciding that all three would be measured on one test on one day."

About the secretary's assertion that 250,000 students would lose access to tutoring from outside providers, he countered that schools could chose to provide that tutoring from a roster of interventions.

The secretary spelled out all of her concerns about the draft in a letter to Rep. Miller and Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif.

Oh, and one more thing: Rep. Miller said that tomorrow the House committee would post its discussion draft for the rest of the bill. That includes Reading First, teacher quality, and a whole bunch of other programs.

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