New Bill Offers Flexibility, Demands Rigor
Even though NCLB is stalled in the House and Senate, its supporters aren't giving up.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., introduced a bill yesterday that would make a deal with up to 12 states. In exchange for increasing the rigor of their standards, they could bypass many of NCLB's prescriptions. The states' standards would have to be aligned with the states' definition of college readiness or international or national benchmarks. But states would get complete control over how to determine whether schools are making AYP and how they will fix the schools that don't reach their achievement goals.
"In other words, instead of saying: 'Do it exactly this way' to the states," Sen. Alexander said when introducing the bill yesterday, "the federal government would be saying: 'Give us results, and we will give you more flexibility.' "
It's early, so it's hard to know how much support this bill will get. On paper, it looks like it answers criticisms that NCLB is too prescriptive. But it also keep NCLB's focus on improving student achievement.
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is endorsing it. "This legislation is a reasonable and responsible step forward as Congress moves toward reauthorizing No Child Left Behind," she says in this statement.