President George Bush gave the last policy speech of his presidency today. The topic was the same as his first such speech: NCLB. In it, he repeated many arguments for the law, that it: requires schools to ensure the achievement of all students is rising, provides parents with information they need about their childrens' achievement, and has resulted in better test scores. But near the end, he talked about the "growing consensus" to keep the law's hard line on accountability. There is a growing consensus across the country that now is not the time to water down standards or to ...


As part of NCLB's 7th anniversary celebration, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has released a long document entitled "Great Expectations." The 67-page document summarizes the Bush administration's message on NCLB for the past two years. Using a common device, it offers a word for the first five letters of the alphabet—two words actually for "C"—and explains why each word is important for the future. Here's a synopsis: Accountability: "The next president will face calls to dismantle or radically redefine accountability. He should resist them." Bipartisanship: "The No Child Left Behind Act was approved overwhelmingly because it united Republicans...


Thanks to my colleagues on our in-house research team, we know a lot more about the AYP status of schools and districts in the 2007-08 school year. Here are three pieces of data that stand out from the story I wrote and that appeared online before my holiday break: 1.) More than a third of schools failed to make AYP in the 2007-08 school year, up by 7 percentage points from the previous year. 2.) Eighteen percent of schools are in school improvement, meaning they've missed AYP for one or more years. That's a jump of just 2 percentage points. ...


From guest blogger Michele McNeil: The U.S. Department of Education came out with its holiday stocking stuffer today, in the form of non-regulatory guidance on the new graduation-rate regulations that went into effect Nov. 28. The new regs, which have pleased advocates for the disabled but further annoyed groups like the National Conference of State Legislatures, require districts to use the same method of calculating graduation rates by the 2011-12 school year. They're in line with what the nation's governors agreed to do, voluntarily, in 2005. According to the department, the new guidance: helps states in setting a single ...


Alexander Russo helpfully proves my point. He posts a bunch of links on Arne Duncan's struggles with and resistance to the implementation of NCLB. Those clips don't prove, as Russo thinks, that Duncan is an NCLB hater. If he was, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., wouldn't have invited him to testify in a July hearing that turned into a love-fest for the law. One source of mine reviewed Duncan's testimony from that day. In retrospect, the source said, it sounded as if Duncan was making the case to be Barack Obama's secretary of education. Obama's endorsement of the law hasn't been ...


Alexander Russo takes issue with my characterization of Arne Duncan as a supporter of NCLB. He calls the Chicago Schools CEO and secretary of education nominee "one of the most vocal critics of the legislation." But the examples he gives reflect Duncan's criticism of implementation, not the legislation itself. If you look at what Duncan has said about the law, he's supportive. In July, he told the House education committee (according to a transcript that isn't online): As others here have said, the No Child Left Behind Act with a focus on accountability was a huge step in the right ...


NCLB gained a friend on Monday when President-elect Barack Obama tapped Arne Duncan to be the next secretary of education. Now it looks as if it will lose its leading foe after 2010. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., is planning to announce that he won't run for re-election, Alyson Klein reports over at Campaign K-12. In his final term, Hoekstra will have extra motivation to enact his conservative vision of giving states greater power over K-12 decisions. He plans to run for governor of Michigan and probably will want to exercise those new-found powers himself....


In picking Arne Duncan to be secretary of education, President-elect Barack Obama will have a fan of the No Child Left Behind Act running the U.S. Department of Education. Read about it on the Campaign K-12 blog. Chicago "has been innovative in adapting NCLB’s school improvement framework to re-enforce our efforts," the city schools CEO told the House education committee in 2006. Earlier this year, he spoke favorably of the law to the House Education and Labor Committee. Here's his written testimony, which is light on praise for NCLB. If you want to hear Duncan speak his mind ...


During last night's debate at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Gene Hickok dropped the phrase "leave no child behind" while arguing against the "Broader, Bolder" initiative. Peter Edelman took the podium next and said: "I'm tempted to say: I live in the household where the term 'Leave No Child Behind' was originated." The comment reminded me of one the biggest ironies of NCLB: A conservative Republican (George Bush) co-opted the slogan of a stalwart liberal organization (the Children's Defense Fund led by Marian Wright Edelman). Bush put the new phrase as the top of his "compassionate conservative" agenda—a message...


After a trip down memory lane on Tuesday, I'm back with two important developments for the immediate future of NCLB. 1.) Education groups are lobbying to put a hold on the Bush administration's final effort to change NCLB through regulations, Alyson Klein reports over at Campaign K-12. The Council of the Great City Schools was pushing for that even before the election in the extensive advice it gave to the incoming president. But the two most important lawmakers in K-12 like the graduation rate requirements in the rules. The Obama team is caught in the middle. 2.) The U.S. ...


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