The U.S. Department of Education is going to send a letter to state school chiefs, inviting them to propose growth models for the latest round of the department's pilot project. Here's the twist: The department will approve every application that meets its criteria, Keri Briggs, the assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education, told me. When Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings created the growth-model experiment in 2005, she capped participation at 10 states. She has approved nine states so far. Now Ms. Briggs said the department will remove the cap if necessary. The department will keep its rules for ...


Over at "Let's Get it Right," AFT's John asks about the contradictions between my reporting on NCLB's Title I formula and data provided by the National Assessment of Title I. The gist of my story is that the NCLB has changed the way Title I's $12.8 billion flows to districts. Big cities and counties with large numbers of disadvantaged students have benefited. Yet, here's an important quote that John uncovered from the National Assessment of Title I's final report: "At the district level, Title I targeting has changed little since 1997-98, despite Congress’ efforts to target more funds to ...


Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., took a field trip to New York City yesterday. His visit to a Brooklyn school didn't generate much news coverage. The only reports I've found are from a cable television news station and the city's largest public radio station (see here and here). Also, Alexander Russo blogged about the school visit here. Both news reports mention that the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee is interested in the city's new school grading system and its forthcoming experiment with performance pay. The first issue must be addressed in NCLB reauthorization because most people believe the ...


NCLB doesn't dominate the front page of Education Week, as it has done in recent months. But its presence is still felt throughout the current issue of the newspaper. On Page 1, Mary Ann Zehr reports that all states and the District of Columbia are complying with NCLB's requirement to assess English-language learners for reading proficiency in their new language (States Clear Initial Hurdle on ELL Tests). "But we don't know how they actually translate into performance of English-language learners," said Jamal Abedi, the professor who conducted the study. In the Washington section, I explain why Title I's funding formula ...


With NCLB off the congressional radar this month, civil rights groups want to make sure the reauthorization reappears next year. On Thursday, a coalition of groups will hold a seminar on high school policies to be considered in NCLB reauthorization. The discussion will be entitled: "A Stronger NCLB in 2008: Critical for High Schools and Students of Color.” Clearly, the organizers want reauthorization to be done next year. Thursday's seminar in the Senate Dirksen building will be the first of several events addressing accountability under NCLB, the Campaign for High School Equity promises. The campaign includes the Leadership Council on ...


Last week, I asked: Will Congress take four years to reauthorize NCLB? After all, it took lawmakers that long to come to an agreement on changes to Head Start. And they still haven't settled on a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, also four years late. BoardBuzz read that as an ominous warning that NCLB might be in place until 2011. I didn't mean to scare school board members or predict the NCLB will go unchanged until this year's kindergarten class enters 4th grade. But I did want to point out that Congress has been postponing reauthorizations of education bills. ...


Yesterday at the New America Foundation, Sara Mead released a list of 10 ways NCLB could be tweaked to bolster prekindergarten programs. In a panel discussion, which I moderated, she highlighted three items: 1.) Require districts to use their unspent money for tutoring and choice on preK in schools that are in need of improvement; 2.) Allow schools required to restructure to transform into "early education academies" serving preK-3; and 3.) Expand Reading First so districts can use the money for preK literacy. The ideas aren't meant to be a comprehensive preK agenda, Mead said. They can be "a bridge ...


During the 1990s, two presidents proposed national tests. Congress rejected both. A Republican Congress brushed back a proposal by a Democratic president, just as a Democratic Congress killed a plan by a Republican president. Neither plan ever had much chance of passing. (Read this and this in the Education Week archives.) That's the main reason why NCLB gave states the authority to set their own definitions of proficiency based on the tests they design. If President Bush or the law's congressional sponsors tried to nationalize testing, the idea would have flopped, which would have endangered the bill. Now momentum appears ...


With Congress putting NCLB reauthorization on hold, it has turned to Head Start, higher education, and appropriations. Those subjects fill the Washington section in the current issue of Education Week. NCLB's influence does appear in a story reporting urban districts' scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (Students in Urban Districts Inching Forward on NAEP). Kathleen Kennedy Manzo and Sean Cavanagh quote an expert who attributes the gradual gains, in part, to the districts' use of data collected under NCLB. "From a systemic point of view, urban districts have been taking advantage of this data and direction to better ...


NCLB isn't playing well in the early primary states. Yesterday, former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., said the law is the product people "inside the Beltway in Washington" who believe "they know everything." "Well, I got news for them: There's a lot of good, smart common sense out here in the real world," he said in Bow, N.H., town meeting where he played up his credentials as a trial lawyer who fought against big corporations. "That crowd who thinks they know everything, those are the ones who said No Child Left Behind was going to be a wonderful, great ...


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