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Progressive Democrats Release ESEA Wish List

A group of 83 House Democrats has sketched out what its members would like to see in the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the current version of which is the No Child Left Behind Act.

The group, called the Progressive Caucus, includes some of the most liberal members of Congress. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, who is pretty much The Man in Charge when it comes to the House version of ESEA reauthorization, is a member, but it's tough to say just how many of the group's ideas he would endorse.

Perhaps more important, the two co-chairs of the caucus, who likely had a lot of input into the recommendations, are Reps. Raul M. Grijavla, D-Ariz., and Lynn C. Woolsey, D-Calif., both rank-and-file members of the House education committee, so you can bet they'll be pushing for these proposals.

Among the ideas:

*All reform models must include parental and community engagement.

*Measures of annual progress must be broad and flexible, with student success including non-academic achievement (i.e., participation, regular attendance, and, for some students, GED completion.)

*Ensure that any evaluation of teacher effectiveness include multiple measures, not limited to a single high-stakes test.

The group also wants to see expanded support services (particularly for prekindergarten). And it would like to see charter schools held accountable in the same way traditional public schools are, including for meeting the needs of special populations, such as students in special education.

You can check out the full version of the recommendations here.

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