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Schnur Endorses NCLB's Goals, National Standards

In my quest to find out where the players in the next presidential administration stand on NCLB, I watched a Sept. 24 debate at the Fordham Institute. (See embedded video below.) In it, Jon Schnur, a key adviser to President-elect Obama, teamed with former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer to argue for a stronger federal role in education policy.

In general, Schnur said he believes the federal government should play a role in setting "national standards and assessments, not set by the federal government, but supported by the federal government. We have a real problem right now with bad assessments that actually don't measure what we care about, and that's got to be addressed."

Later, at about the 32nd minute, when asked about NCLB, he said:

"Some of the key goals and components ought to be retained, but there's some policy that needs to be changed. Most importantly, we have to invest in the capacity of our educators to be able to execute and implement policies."

Schnur wasn't as specific about NCLB as Linda Darling-Hammond—the leader of the transition team's review of education policy—when she wrote about the law for The Nation and testified before Congress, both in 2007. That probably has to do with the forum.

But Schnur's proposal for "common American" standards and tests is much different than Darling-Hammond's idea that locally developed assessments can be part of several measures determining a school's success under NCLB. See her congressional testimony for more.

Coming soon: Where does Barack Obama stand on NCLB?

Resolved: A Larger Federal Role in Education is Needed in the 21st Century. Lessons from NCLB. from Education Gadfly on Vimeo.

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