December 2008 Archives

From guest blogger Michele McNeil: The U.S. Department of Education came out with its holiday stocking stuffer today, in the form of non-regulatory guidance on the new graduation-rate regulations that went into effect Nov. 28. The new regs, which have pleased advocates for the disabled but further annoyed groups like the National Conference of State Legislatures, require districts to use the same method of calculating graduation rates by the 2011-12 school year. They're in line with what the nation's governors agreed to do, voluntarily, in 2005. According to the department, the new guidance: helps states in setting a single ...


Alexander Russo helpfully proves my point. He posts a bunch of links on Arne Duncan's struggles with and resistance to the implementation of NCLB. Those clips don't prove, as Russo thinks, that Duncan is an NCLB hater. If he was, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., wouldn't have invited him to testify in a July hearing that turned into a love-fest for the law. One source of mine reviewed Duncan's testimony from that day. In retrospect, the source said, it sounded as if Duncan was making the case to be Barack Obama's secretary of education. Obama's endorsement of the law hasn't been ...


Alexander Russo takes issue with my characterization of Arne Duncan as a supporter of NCLB. He calls the Chicago Schools CEO and secretary of education nominee "one of the most vocal critics of the legislation." But the examples he gives reflect Duncan's criticism of implementation, not the legislation itself. If you look at what Duncan has said about the law, he's supportive. In July, he told the House education committee (according to a transcript that isn't online): As others here have said, the No Child Left Behind Act with a focus on accountability was a huge step in the right ...


NCLB gained a friend on Monday when President-elect Barack Obama tapped Arne Duncan to be the next secretary of education. Now it looks as if it will lose its leading foe after 2010. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., is planning to announce that he won't run for re-election, Alyson Klein reports over at Campaign K-12. In his final term, Hoekstra will have extra motivation to enact his conservative vision of giving states greater power over K-12 decisions. He plans to run for governor of Michigan and probably will want to exercise those new-found powers himself....


In picking Arne Duncan to be secretary of education, President-elect Barack Obama will have a fan of the No Child Left Behind Act running the U.S. Department of Education. Read about it on the Campaign K-12 blog. Chicago "has been innovative in adapting NCLB’s school improvement framework to re-enforce our efforts," the city schools CEO told the House education committee in 2006. Earlier this year, he spoke favorably of the law to the House Education and Labor Committee. Here's his written testimony, which is light on praise for NCLB. If you want to hear Duncan speak his mind ...


During last night's debate at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Gene Hickok dropped the phrase "leave no child behind" while arguing against the "Broader, Bolder" initiative. Peter Edelman took the podium next and said: "I'm tempted to say: I live in the household where the term 'Leave No Child Behind' was originated." The comment reminded me of one the biggest ironies of NCLB: A conservative Republican (George Bush) co-opted the slogan of a stalwart liberal organization (the Children's Defense Fund led by Marian Wright Edelman). Bush put the new phrase as the top of his "compassionate conservative" agenda—a message...


After a trip down memory lane on Tuesday, I'm back with two important developments for the immediate future of NCLB. 1.) Education groups are lobbying to put a hold on the Bush administration's final effort to change NCLB through regulations, Alyson Klein reports over at Campaign K-12. The Council of the Great City Schools was pushing for that even before the election in the extensive advice it gave to the incoming president. But the two most important lawmakers in K-12 like the graduation rate requirements in the rules. The Obama team is caught in the middle. 2.) The U.S. ...


When people criticize NCLB for being unfair to schools, they point their fingers at President Bush and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. But, as my retrospective look at the Bush presidency points out, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., had a significant role in making NCLB's accountability rules as tough as they are. Bush's initial NCLB proposal would have required schools to set up schools to make AYP goals for all students and specifically for low-income students. They also would have needed to report the progress of students in minority groups and categories such as special education students and English-language learners. But ...


Education Sector's Tom Toch gives the rundown on Linda Darling-Hammond's latest thoughts about the role of assessments in school reform efforts. He deconstructs the Stanford University professor's article in Phi Delta Kappan examining other countries' performance-based tests, and he wonders how Darling-Hammond might use these ideas if she retains influence over the Obama administration's policies. (Only the abstract is free online.) Toch concludes: So, if Barack Obama gives Linda Darling-Hammond a major role in his administration, we're going to have a big policy debate over testing in American education and whether we should move beyond NCLB accountability to something potentially ...


Two weeks ago, I reviewed where two of President-elect Barack Obama's K-12 advisers stood on assessment issues related to NCLB. Jon Schnur supports the idea of creating a national test that is developed by states or private organizations. Linda Darling-Hammond suggests there should be multiple measures that determine whether a school is successful. Then, I promised to give you an update on what the next president thinks on testing. I've looked through everything I can find. But I don't have a clear idea of where the president-elect stands on the issue. Then again, I'm not the only one in that ...


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