The National Association of Secondary School Principals is the latest group to endorse national standards. In a position statement released yesterday, the group is calling on Congress to establish an independent group of experts to create national standards and "authentic, reliable" national assessments. They also ask for federal money to underwrite states' work to implement the standards and to pay for the administration of the national exams. Add NASSP to the growing list of education groups that are endorsing national standards. The most prominent so far are the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great ...


Last fall, Madison, Wis., teacher David Wasserman was reprimanded for refusing to proctor a state test with high-stakes implications under NCLB. This spring, Seattle teacher Carl Chew was suspended after he refused to give the Washington state tests. Chew explains the reasons for his protest in this item. But now the stakes are getting higher. Last week, a North Carolina school board fired special education teacher Doug Ward because he had informed them he wouldn't be giving the state tests to the severely disabled students in his class. Even though the test was adapted to measure disabled students' performance, Ward ...


The NEA's NCLB guru, Joel Packer, is the newest voice in the education blogosphere. He's posted three podcasts and their transcripts under a banner ad that brags: "Joel Packer Has All the Answers." The education bloggers' club has read Packer's first three entries and is offering (mostly predictable) reactions. Sherman Dorn says the blog's name is "a bit disconcerting" because Packer can't possibly have "all the answers." Alexander Russo says giving Packer a blog is "a wise move" for the NEA. Eduwonk crowns Packer as the "Washington's top anti-NCLB propagandist." At the bottom of a post on Barack Obama's education ...


NCLB's testing rules have come under criticism from in Education Week's commentary page, during prime-time, and on the campaign trail. But it's still unclear to me what an alternative testing program would be like. Would it be able to deliver results that can be compared across schools? Would it yield consistent results from one year to the next? Would its content cover a range of topics across the curriculum? If, like me, you're wondering about these issues, you may want to log into a live Web event today. In it, the Coalition of Essential Schools will demonstrate and explain the ...


Sen. Barack Obama didn't add much new to his plans for NCLB in his education speech near Denver yesterday. He says he'd improve the quality of testing, give schools the money they'd need to achieve the law's goals, and create incentives for teachers to work where they are most needed. In one interesting aside, he said standardized tests should still be given in the school. Otherwise, his comments repeated what he has said before in various campaign events. (See entries from earlier this month, March, and February.) What struck me about the speech is that Obama promised to end the "tired...


While I was out last week, the Center on Education Policy released a report saying that about half of the states are delaying the pain for schools under NCLB. (See the edweek.org story from last week.) They've made it easy for schools to make AYP in the early years of implementation and are expecting (or just hoping?) that schools will escalate achievement gains when the goal of universal proficiency looms in 2014. BoardBuzz and Joanne Jacobs compare this "backloading" to a balloon payment on a mortgage. Back in November, Kevin Carey released a report identifying such backloading as one ...


Back in January, Rep. George Miller told me that he and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy had a plan to reauthorize NCLB by this spring. That seemed like an ambitious goal, then. Now it looks unattainable. Indeed, the prospect of the law being reauthorized in 2008 dimmed last week with the news of the Massachusetts Democrat's brain tumor. When will NCLB be reauthorized? In last week's Gadfly, Checker Finn explains the arcane legal reasons why Congress doesn't need to act soon. Eduwonk lays out a good case for 2010. Back in November, I sent BoardBuzz into a tizzy by projecting NCLB ...


Back in December, I and other bloggers entered an extended dialogue about whether NCLB's Title I does an adequate job targeting money to schools with low-income students. In that series of blog posts, Kevin Carey lauded the way NCLB shifted Title I money toward schools in the poorest communities, though he acknowledged that the formula isn't perfect. Now, he is a co-author of a new report examining school finance across federal, state, and local levels. The "basic flaw" at every level is that "money follows money," Carey writes in a post I'm sure he didn't waste half a day writing. ...


I'm at Ed in '08's blogger summit today. In that spirit, I want to comment on one NCLB issue on the campaign trail. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is spending time visiting states that will be vital for the Democratic nominee to win. In his speech in Missouri on Tuesday, Obama criticized President Bush's policies on the Iraq war, taxes, health care, and trade. He told the audience that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is "running for George Bush's third term in office" and would continue those "failed policies of the past." What he didn't mention was NCLB. Is that a slight ...


It's not a waiver, or a pilot project, or a far-reaching package of rules. But the Department of Education's recent "interpretation" of NCLB has the potential to have a significant impact on the way schools implement the law, Mary Ann Zehr reports in the current issue of Education Week. The interpretation published in the May 2 edition of the Federal Register could force states and schools to change the way they assess and classify English-language learners. The notice tells states to standardize their definitions of when a student no longer needs ELL services and the criteria they use to report ...


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