Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has won the latest round in the legal battle over NCLB. A federal judge ruled in favor of the federal government yesterday in all counts in Connecticut's lawsuit seeking flexibility under NCLB and to have it declared an unfunded mandate. Judge Mark R. Kravitz said that the U.S. Department of Education hadn't overstepped its authority when it rejected the state's application to implement the law. Because the state hadn't exercised its administrative appeals of those decisions, the judge refused to rule whether NCLB was an unfunded mandate. "It is truly unfortunate that the court ...


The secretary of education and others have praised Massachusetts for the rigor of its academic standards. But the state's standards aren't challenging enough to prepare high school students for college, according to a new study. Thirty-seven percent of college freshmen took a remedial course in the fall of 2005. See the Boston Globe story on the study. The study highlights "the fundamental dilemma" with NCLB, says openeducation.net. If Massachusetts sets its standards any higher, it would turn low-performing kids into dropouts, writes Thomas J. Hanson, the superintendent-turned-blogger who runs the site. What such kids actually need are viable educational ...


One intriguing idea in the Forum for Education and Democracy's report is the proposal for a "continuous progress index." NCLB takes a variety of measurements—test scores in reading and math, test participation rates, and other indicators such as science scores, attendance rates, etc. If a school fails to meet their goal in any of them, it fails AYP. The Forum report calls the NCLB method a "confusing statistical gauntlet" that is unfair to schools. It should be replaced by a single measurement that combines the results of various factors, such as scores on tests measuring "higher-order thinking and understanding,"...


In my story about one of the many reports pegged to the 25th anniversary of A Nation at Risk, I quote two experts suggesting that that federal policy is not about to undergo dramatic changes in the next few years. Congress only makes dramatic shifts infrequently and the time probably isn't right, Jack Jennings of the Center on Education Policy told me. Kati Haycock of the Education Trust predicted that changes to NCLB would be "evolutionary, rather than revolutionary." That may end up being correct. But one VIP may be out to prove them wrong. Yesterday at an event by ...


The leaders of the House Education and Labor Committee agree that their attempt to reauthorize NCLB is at a standstill. But they disagree about who is to blame for that. Here's the take of Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the committee: "Congress offered the president an opportunity to resuscitate his legacy by working in a bipartisan way on comprehensive reforms to the No Child Left Behind law, and he rejected it." And here's the perspective of Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., the senior GOP member of the committee: “Unfortunately, more than a year into their congressional majority, ...


If you want to spend your day reading 26,000 words of federal rules, this link's for you. You won't find the word "bulldozer" in it. That kind of rhetoric is saved for speeches. For a concise summary of the Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings' latest effort to revise NCLB, try the Department of Education's short summary of the rules. Or maybe you'd prefer the extended one. And don't overlook the story I wrote with Lynn Olson story for edweek.org. More to come on this....


As promised earlier this month, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is set to propose rules today requiring a uniform high school graduation rate. But her proposal goes far beyond graduation rates, according to information provided to me. It would require states and school districts to take steps to ensure that students have access to choice and supplementary educational services and give them several new reporting and monitoring responsibilities. Here's a quick summary: Choice and SES Districts would need to take action to expand participation in choice and SES before they can use the money reserved for those services for general ...


On Earth Day tomorrow, members of the House's K-12 subcommittee will be working at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge in Laurel, Md. They'll be at a hearing on the No Child Left Inside Act, which would authorize $100 million a year for states to develop curriculum to address environmental issues. For background, see this post from July. The bill would increase student achievement in core subjects, improve the health of children, and develop a skill critical for the 21st Century workforce, says the coalition of almost 200 environmental groups supporting the legislation. "We'll be passing on complicated environmental problems to ...


Richard Simmons is at it again. The fitness icon has been a frequent diversion from my dispatches on fascinating (but not necessarily popular) topics such as growth models and graduation rates. Simmons hit the morning airwaves this week to promote bills to insert physical education into NCLB. He's also calling on viewers to contact presidential candidates and ask them to address the issue. Here are links to appearances on Today and Good Day New York. But he's not in this alone. The American Heart Association also is on board. Its Web site includes background on the FIT Kids Act, which ...


In June, you'll be able to see what life is like at Baltimore's Frederick Douglass High in an HBO documentary. After 30 minutes of searching the Web, here's the school's story in numbers: All of the school's 1,185 students are African-Americans. Of the enrollment, 460 are freshman, 240 are sophomores, 284 are juniors, and 201 are seniors. Its attendance rate is 68.9 percent. It has never made AYP. Every year, it has missed its AYP goals in reading. Special education students met the AYP goal in mathematics in 2002-03. That's the only year a subgroup has met its ...


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