Does NCLB lack "bite?" When it comes to intervening in struggling schools, The Wall Street Journal says "yes." Forty percent of schools in restructuring have done very little to change, the Journal reports, quoting Mike Petrilli about "a loophole to do very little." "To solve a problem first you have to diagnose it correctly," writes Petrilli, who couldn't resist the chance to blog on the story. "And calling NCLB 'too harsh' is surely not the right diagnosis." When it comes to setting world-class standards, Paul Peterson and Rick Hess say "yes," as well. Compared with 2005, Peterson and Hess see ...


Thanks to a new guidebook from the Department of Education, here are four steps to improving chronically low-performing schools: "Signal the need for dramatic change with strong leadership ... Maintain a consistent focus on improving instruction ... Make visible improvements early in the school turnaround process (quick wins) ... [and] Build a committed staff." The panel of researchers that wrote the checklist said these are the best ideas they've found. But they warn that completing the list may not necessarily yield gains in student improvement. "The recommendations in this guide are based on a collection of case studies of low-performing schools that improved ...


You wouldn't expect Charles Murray and Richard Rothstein to agree on anything. Murray, a co-author of The Bell Curve, is a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute—the Bush administration's think tank of choice for foreign policy. Rothstein, a tilting-at-windmills researcher who has tried to debunk many assumptions behind current school reforms, is a liberal that works for the Economic Policy Institute—the labor movement's think tank of choice. But Murray, on your left, and Rothstein, on your right, agree on one thing: NCLB is bad policy. NCLB is a "a monumental mess," Murray writes in a new essay...


Here's a question I'm trying to answer: Would the rules proposed by the Department of Education make it easier or harder for schools and districts to make AYP? If you have a theory, post a comment or e-mail me....


Of all of the methods to track students' academic growth, the "value added" approach is probably the most appealing. Growth models, and possibly the value added method, will certainly play an important role in NCLB's future. But statisticians and education researchers are starting to question the value-added model's accuracy and utility for making decisions on teacher pay and other important policies. "If anybody's going to be using these things for high-stakes policy decisions, we want to add a large grain of caution here," Tim R. Sass, a Florida State University professor, tells my colleague Debra Viadero in Scrutiny Heightens for ...


The future of NCLB's Reading First program is in jeopardy. It's been a target of Democrats since they won the majority of Congress in 2007. Last week's Department of Education report is the latest strike against it. The reading comprehension of children participating in Reading First isn't growing as fast as that of children in a control group, the study says. For more, see Kathleen Kennedy Manzo's reporting. Rep. Dave Obey, D-Wis., who controls the federal purse strings in the House, wasted no time calling the program a failure. "Previous reports have shown that a political friend of the administration ...


If you thought the Bush administration was finished putting its stamp on NCLB, think again. On Friday, the Department of Education published a new "interpretation" regarding the classification of ELL students. The proposal would standardize how each state determines when ELL students are ready to exit a program designed to serve their unique needs. My colleague Mary Ann Zehr explains over at Learning the Language....


President Bush and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings introduced the 2008 Teacher of the Year at the White House yesterday. (See photo at right.) As usual, the president called on Congress to reauthorize No Child Left Behind. But, he added, "The good news is the act doesn't go away without reauthorization; it still exists." What he didn't mention was Reading First. Maybe he and his speech writers knew the results of the interim report on the program. You can read about the report's findings in this news story on edweek.org....


Alyson Klein attended a conference on performance pay yesterday and didn't expect to hear the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee sing a sample of a jazz standard. "You gotta give a little, take a little...." Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., serenaded attendees at the American Federation of Teachers' conference. Miller, right, gave a speech on NCLB reauthorization, which is stalled, in which he reiterated his support for including some form of performance pay in the renewed version of the law. He wasn't specific on any details, although he said any pay for performance must be developed with teachers ...


Not everyone likes the NCLB rules that the Department of Education proposed last week. The chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee objects to the way the package has become a "slapdash" substitute for legislative actions. Representatives of school groups are balking at the quick timeline from proposal to implementation. You can read about that in my story in the latest issue of Education Week. But you don't have to give Washington insiders all of the power in this debate. Whether you're the mother of a special education student in Massachusetts or a school administrator in Kansas, you can ...


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