With NCLB reauthorization looking less likely each week, the debate over the future of the law's key tenets has begun. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said she wants her new pilot project on "differentiated accountability" to offer Congress a model of how to rework interventions in schools. And don't overlook the accountability proposal that Randi Weingarten, president of New York City's United Federation of Teachers, released last week. Weingarten's plan would add new ingredients to the accountability mix. (One quick note: Her ideas are about accountability in general but could be applied to NCLB.) In addition to test scores, schools ...


Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings traveled to St. Paul, Minn., to announce today that she's inviting states to experiment with "differential accountability." In her speech, she didn't mention one important detail: Minnesota doesn't qualify. Minnesota's testing system hasn't been approved by the federal Education Department—one of four criteria states must meet to win approval under the pilot project. (The other three are: a teacher-quality plan approved by the feds; clean federal monitoring reports; and what the department calls "timely and transparent" AYP reports. It's all spelled out in the department's fact sheet.) What's more, the program will give priority...


Ten states will get the opportunity to restructure their intervention in schools that aren't making AYP under the "differentiated accountability" proposal Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced this morning in St. Paul, Minn. The Department of Education will set up a peer review process to evaluate states' proposals to provide consequences based on how close they are to making their AYP goals, with schools that are farthest away getting the most dramatic interventions. Spelling said the process will be "very similar" to the one in which the department evaluated the growth model pilot program. In her speech, Spellings said the ...


At the Council of the Great City Schools meeting in Washington this morning, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, right, said she plans to "make this law work as well as possible." She touted her effort to approve states' proposals to use growth models in accountability. She listed other areas she's exploring, such as differentiating consequences for schools and districts based on how far away they are from their achievement goals; improving data on dropout rates; and ensuring students have access to tutoring. When asked about differentiated consequences, she had this to say: "One of the things that is important to ...


Comedian Al Franken is running for U.S. Senate in Minnesota. His position on NCLB is that the law needs to be "dramatically reformed or scrapped altogether." Franken, a Democrat, sounds a like a cross between John Edwards and Bill Richardson. His opponent, Sen. Norm Coleman, is a co-sponsor of a bipartisan NCLB bill that would keep much of the law intact, but give it a new name. Find out more over from Alyson Klein's latest cameo at Campaign K-12....


When Congress convened last year, prominent Democrats introduced plans that would nationalize standards. Most would reward states for linking their standards to the achievement level of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The goal would be to entice states to increase the rigor of their standards. (See Standards Get Boost on the Hill.) Even though those bills haven't made any progress, state groups are examining ways to beef up their standards, Michele McNeil (aka MM of Campaign K-12) reports in Benchmarks Momentum on Increase. The groups are considering a variety of efforts to upgrade their expectations, mostly by comparing individual ...


The Virginia General Assembly has passed a bill that would give the state's board of education the option of leaving NCLB behind. Virginia's been down this road before. In 2004, it passed a Republican-backed resolution saying it didn't have the money to comply with the law, prompting this statement from then-Secretary of Education Rod Paige. Virginia stuck with the law. This year, Republicans raised the issue again. Throughout the legislative session, the House pushed a bill that would have required the state board to create a plan to withdraw from NCLB by 2009. Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, opposed it, ...


At the Center for American Progress today, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., suggested that he has an expansive vision for the next version of NCLB. At an event discussing a new report from New Leaders for New Schools, Miller, at right, talked about how the federal government could assist principals. His goal would be to help them create plans for improvement that address the needs of their communities, based on the abilities of their staffs and parents and using resources in creative ways to accomplish the learning goals. "This is all doable," the chairman of the House Education Committee told an ...


Over at Campaign K-12, Mark Walsh reports on Monday's panel discussion on presidential politics at the American Enterprise Institute. Near the bottom, he includes this quote from William A. Galston: "I don't think that NCLB will survive in anything like its current form" if a Democrat become president. Galston, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, worked in the domestic policy shop in the Clinton White House and had a hand in designing the 1994 version of the Elementary and Secondary Act. He predicts that a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress would create something that looks more like ...


NCLB's reauthorization will involve fights over big issues (such as testing, AYP, and school choice) and a whole bunch of small ones. In U.S. Position on Research Seen in Flux, my colleague Debra Viadero explains that the definition of "scientifically valid research" will be one of those small ones. Last fall, the House education committee's discussion draft would have expanded the definition to include studies that don't have control groups. "We can't be constrained solely by quasi-experimental and random-assignment studies in education," Roberto Rodriguez, a senior adviser to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said at a Feb. 21 panel ...


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