Last week, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said the House NCLB draft would create "big loopholes" in the law's accountability rules. This week, Rep. George Miller responds, saying that the secretary has diluted the power of existing rules with her administrative decisions. In this commentary published on edweek.org today, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee says that the secretary has approved statistical games that make accountability easier for schools. He points out the department has let states use 'n' sizes of up to 200 students. That means a school that has less than 200 students in ...


If you search the House education committee's NCLB draft, you won't find the phrase "persistently dangerous schools." The current law requires states to identify any school that fits their definition of persistently dangerous. Districts must allow students to transfer out of those schools. For the most part, states have avoided implementing this section. In 2003, states labeled a total of 54 schools as persistently dangerous. Under the draft, the "persistently dangerous" section would morph into a new "challenge schools" grant. A challenge school would be one "that is determined not to have a safe climate for academic achievement," the draft ...


The NCLB stories in the current issue of Education Week focus on the news of last week in Washington, but a couple of others will give you a glimpse of issues out in the field. When the House Education and Labor Committee posted discussion drafts of Title II and other sections of NCLB at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, several of us collaborated to get the news out before the paper went to press at noon on Friday. We didn't have time to find reaction to the draft itself. I dug through the NEA Web site to find Reg ...


Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., has responded to the California Teachers Association's Web ad proclaiming the current draft of NCLB "imposes new federal mandates that undermine local control and employee rights." In a statement e-mailed to me by the press secretary of the House Education and Labor Committee, the chairman says the teachers union got it wrong. Here's an extended excerpt: "The CTA claimed today that the legislation would judge teachers’ performance solely on the basis of their students’ achievement gains, even though the organization knows this isn’t true. Contrary to the CTA’s assertions, the legislation would consider achievement ...


Just after I posted this item on a teacher union's opposition to the House's NCLB draft, the subject of merit pay and performance pay came up in today's marathon House Education and Labor Committee hearing. Toward the end of the almost seven-hour session, NEA President Reg Weaver and AFT Executive Vice President Antonia Cortese objected to proposed alternative pay programs for teachers, which are included in the section addressing teacher quality. In the Q&A that followed, Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., reminded the union reps that that the pay proposals came from the Teacher Excellence for All Children Act, which ...


The House Education and Labor Committee invited more than 40 people to speak at today's hearing on their draft bill to reauthorize NCLB. But today's most important NCLB statement may be on this Web page. In it, the California Teachers Association says: "NCLB is again now up for reauthorization. And the proposal by California Congressman George Miller and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does nothing to improve the law. California teachers are calling on Congress to vote NO on the Miller/Pelosi NCLB reauthorization plan." The CTA doesn't like many proposals in the drafts (see here, here, and here) issued by ...


As we wrap up this week where people are debating NCLB's future, I'd like to ask you to think about the past. In "No Child Left Behind: What Would Al Say?" published in the Sept. 5 Education Week, Richard D. Kahlenberg draws on his research for his new biography of Albert Shanker. He suggests that the late president of the American Federation of Teachers wouldn't have liked several elements of NCLB. Even though Shanker was one of the biggest proponents of standards-based reforms in the 1990s, he had a different vision than what emerged from Congress in 2002.The four ...


For those of you interested what the House committee is proposing in the rest of NCLB, you can read a summary and legislative language at the House Education and Labor Committee's Web site....


While I wait for the House education committee to post the next installment of its NCLB proposal, I've had the chance to review what groups are saying about the Title I draft. Here's a quick summary of a few responses sent to the House Education and Labor Committee: Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings writes that she is "deeply troubled" by many of the draft's accountability proposals. (But if you heard her speech yesterday, you already knew that.) "We could easily lose simple transparency about whether schools are teaching students to read and do math on grade level, and obscure what's ...


In his remarks this morning, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said he was working closely with Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on NCLB reauthorization. But in his conference call with reporters this afternoon, he made it clear that they don't see eye-to-eye on some key sections of the bill. Twice, he referred to the secretary's assertion last year that the law is "99.9 percent pure." "There's no evidence on the street that that's the case," he said. The chairman of the House education committee also responded to Secretary Spellings' speech today, in which she criticized the several elements of the ...


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