February 2009 Archives

On the campaign trail, President Obama pledged: "You don’t reform our schools by opposing efforts to fully fund No Child Left Behind." He said that in his biggest education speech of the general election campaign. The economic stimulus package was a down payment on fulfilling that promise. Under the law, the Title I grants to districts for the education of disadvantaged students will receive $10 billion, split over fiscal years 2009 and 2010. The money makes up almost half of the difference between the program's fiscal 2008 appropriation ($13.8 billion) and what NCLB advocates consider full funding for ...


At the National Governors Association's winter meeting this weekend, most news organizations focused on some governors' reluctance to take portions of the stimulus money. (For examples of the coverage, see here and here.) But the NGA took one significant vote that went unnoticed elsewhere. Its members approved a policy statement that could lead to a set of national standards. The statement hasn't been released to the public yet. But governors told me that it advocates putting state leaders in charge of a national effort to establish a "common core" of standards defining what students should know. The statement dovetails with ...


Over at Swift & Changable, Charlie Barone hands over the blog to MargoMom, a frequent commenter here and elsewhere. Charlie's headline (Margot/Mom on "Becoming a Part of the 'Reformy Crowd'") tells the story. But a better one might have been: "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love NCLB." With a nod to Dr. Strangelove, of course....


Here's a thought experiment: As a parent, I know that my son's elementary school in a "leafy green" suburb of Washington made AYP last year. But what if that school had needed to make AYP as it's defined in South Carolina, where the proficiency levels are notoriously higher? Or California, which has set low annual targets until the 2014 goal of universal proficiency begins to loom? Or Maryland, which has the smallest "n" size of any state—a fact that makes it more difficult to make AYP across all of the subgroups of students? My son's school might not have...


Rep. George Miller told my colleague Alyson Klein that the economic stimulus package would make it easier to reauthorize NCLB. By putting money on the table for schools, President Obama has demonstrated that he is going to be serious about fully funding the law, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee argued. What he didn't mention is that the short-term financing measure will require that states and districts to prove that they are meeting important goals and providing significant supports required under NCLB. As Charlie Barone says, states have some "real work" to do. To qualify for a ...


After the economic-stimulus bill left the U.S. House of Representatives, education programs lost money. Except for one. Funding for the "school improvement grant" program under NCLB's Title I fell to $1 billion in the Senate bill from $2 billion in the House bill. But in the final version, it's up to $3 billion. For a complete breakdown, see page 168 of the bill language on the House Appropriations Committee Web site. The additional money for school improvement came at the expense of Title I grants to districts. Funding for those grants fell by $1 billion, to $10 billion in ...


Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spent this morning at a Northern Virginia school promoting the need for school construction money in the economic stimulus package. Yesterday, though, he spoke to the American Council on Education's annual meeting and discussed an issue that may be important for the next version of the NCLB. If we accomplish one thing in the coming years—it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America. I know that talking about standards can make people nervous—but the notion that we have 50 different goal posts is absolutely ridiculous. A high school diploma...


One inquiring mind asked me this week why this blog has been dark for three weeks. The simple answer is: NCLB hasn't been in the news. Everything has been about the stimulus. Until last Thursday. At the American Enterprise Institute, Rick Hess and Mike Petrilli held an event discussing a paper on NCLB. Their thesis is that George Bush compromised his conservative principles by including liberal ideas in NCLB. As Yogi Petrilli helped us envision in a guided meditation (you had to be there), the public response to the law would have been completely different if it hadn't set the ...


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