John Edwards' presidential campaign said today that the former senator would "totally overhaul" NCLB. "No Child Left Behind used cheap standardized tests to measure our children's learning, failed to accurately identify struggling schools, and mandated unproven cookie-cutter solutions for our schools' problems," the campaign said in a paper outlining Mr. Edwards' education platform. Edwards would create a School Success Fund, which would sent teams of experienced educators into low-performing schools. He also weighs in on the teacher pay debate, offering to pad the salaries of teachers in high-poverty schools. The teachers would get an extra $15,000 if their students ...


All month, key lawmakers have said they would take significant legislative action on NCLB in September. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., has said he wants to get a bill out of the Education and Labor Committee, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chamber's education chairman, has been promising to introduce an NCLB bill. Since Monday is the beginning of the last full week of September, Alyson Klein and I asked around about what might happen next week. The House Education and Labor Committee will not mark up a NCLB bill next week. Sen. Kennedy may introduce his NCLB bill or ...


I—and just about everyone else—missed this Sept. 10 letter from House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, to the leaders of the House education committee. In his "Dear George and Buck" letter, Rep. Boehner praises the bipartisan process that produced the House's NCLB discussion draft. Then he criticizes many key sections of it. In summary, Rep. Boehner says the draft would fail to give students the option of choosing private schools, would cut back tutoring and other supplemental services, wouldn't support enough pay-for-performance and merit-pay plans for teachers, and would create new loopholes in the accountability system. He also ...


Last week, NEA announced its opposition to the House's NCLB discussion draft. Its California chapter launched an online advertising campaign against the draft. This week, it's clear they haven't changed their minds. Yesterday, NEA sent out this "action alert" urging members to contact their members of Congress about the bill. The overall message is to tell Congress to "slow down," the alert says. It concludes: "Instead of rushing to pass legislation that will offer more bureaucracy, more mandates, and less help for students and educators, Congress should take the time to craft a bill that will truly help ensure great ...


Last week was full of NCLB news, and you can read it in the current issue of Education Week. For Unions Assail Teacher Ideas in NCLB Draft, Alyson Klein and I give the highlights of the Sept. 10 hearing and the fallout from it. (Much of that was covered in the blog here, here, and here.) Take note of comments from Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon's spokeswoman and from Amanda L. Farris at the Department of Education. They both want pay-for-performance projects included in the reauthorized NCLB. In Draft Proposal Seeks to Equalize School Resources, Bess Keller explains how one ...


Democrats for Education Reform marked its Washington debut on Monday night. The New York-based PAC says it wants to be a player in the NCLB debate. Elizabeth Rich, an online editor for the section of edweek.org serving teachers, attended and filed this report: With a perfect view of the Washington and Jefferson Monuments and the sun setting behind the White House, the Democrats for Education Reform held their organization launch. DFER is angling to get party support behind education issues--as they see them. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., spoke, but left early; DC Public School Chancellor Michelle Rhee, spoke ...


Enough single-issue items for now. It's time to look at the big picture. Today at noon I'll be moderating a discussion at the Cato Institute. The focus of the event is a new book by Neal P. McCluskey, a Cato policy analyst. As you might expect from a libertarian, McCluskey argues against NCLB and any other significant federal involvement in K-12 education. The title of his book sums up his position: Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Education. "It is clear that 40 years of expensive federal intervention in our schools has been a ...


I closed my last post asking if testing and accountability would be the issues of the week. The next moment, my colleague, Alyson Klein, sends me a copy of this release. I guess the answer is yes. Today, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., introduced the Improving Student Testing Act of 2007. The bill would dramatically scale back the amount of testing and the types of assessments given under NCLB. "There are a number of other issues that we need to address in the NCLB reauthorization," Sen. Feingold said in his statement when introducing the bill in ...


Last week, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., decried existing loopholes in the NCLB accountability rules, blaming Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings for letting states off the hook. Now, Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., comes to the secretary's defense. More importantly, the senior Republican on the education committee hints he's not committed to several key elements of the Title I discussion draft that he and Chairman Miller released last month. "Rather than blaming the U.S. secretary of education, I believe our time would be better spent focusing on the future of the law, not its past implementation," Rep. McKeon writes ...


A few things to note as I clean out my inbox and notebook at the end of the week: 1.) I've neglected to mention the extent of NEA's presence at the House hearing on Monday. The union had at least one of its members from every congressional district represented on the Education and Labor Committee. The union brigade stood out with their red-and-white stickers that said: "A Child is More Than a Test Score." I saw them talking to several members of the committee in the hallway. You can read Joe Williams' take on it at his blog for Democrats ...


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