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As NCLB Stalls, Local Officials Stew

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One year ago, as Washington was gearing up to reauthorize NCLB, I talked about the law's prospects with a former Senate aide. People on the local level need guidance on how to address some of the law's complicated rules, said Ellen Guiney, who is now the executive director of the Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools. Without it, questions will be settled in court—something no one wants. (See Bush to Start NCLB Push in Congress.)

One year later, not much has changed. Neither the House nor the Senate has moved NCLB bills. And local officials are still crying for help—if this story from the Tennessean is any indication.

District officials in the Nashville area are saying NCLB is improperly identifying schools as failing to make AYP, is encouraging teachers to overlook gifted kids, and is diverting federal money for private tutoring. All are common complaints from the field. Policymakers acknowledge that the law needs fixing; Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., does so in the Tennessean (although his quote doesn't address his constituents' specific complaints).

Will Congress do something about NCLB 2008? That remains to be seen. But it sounds as if educators in Nashville have given up hope. Do others out there feel the same way?

1 Comment

I agree with the officials. While the premise of NCLB is good (help those kids who need help but can't afford it), just saying all kids in a "failing" school can receive free assistance is wrong. What happens to all the other kids in passing schools that are struggling and have do not have the money to afford the private tutoring? "Not much" is the answer. Personally, I think we have many parents in the lower economic realm using the "after school" tutoring as a daycare. These students are in large groups just like a classroom and they aren't really getting much out of it. However, the teachers are making $25-$50hr and the companies that promote the teachers make profit on top of that. I am in education and I believe the kids who need help and WANT help are the ones who deserve help, no matter what their school AYP is. I don't think there's a perfect answer to any of our educational dilemmas, but NCLB is a tragedy.

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