March 15, 2007
Changes Needed to Be Made to No Child Left Behind Act This Year, State Board Members Tell Congress
State board of education members are telling federal lawmakers that changes need to be made to the No Child Left Behind Act this year in meetings today with their congressional delegations on Capitol Hill. The members are in Washington, DC for their annual legislative conference hosted by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).
"For the past five years, state board members have worked diligently and tirelessly with federal officials and educators within their own states to implement the No Child Left Behind Act. Our efforts have produced a law that is working, and also given us a first-hand knowledge of specific provisions in which changes are needed to make the law work better. We are sharing our expertise and insights with the Congress, the ultimate arbiter of changes to No Child Left Behind, to better coordinate federal and state education reform policies," said Brad Bryant, NASBE President and Georgia State Board of Education member.
The state education leaders are advocating for improvements to the landmark federal education reform law, the No Child Left Behind Act, as Congress considers changes to it during the reauthorization process. State board members conveyed a number of NASBE recommendations to help make the law more effective. Among them:
Allow states to use student growth rates to meet federal accountability requirements;
Provide flexibility in state testing requirements, especially for students with disabilities and English language learners;
Use multiple indicators of student achievement and school performance to evaluate progress;
Increase funding for NCLB programs that benefit low-income students and build a state's capacity to help turnaround low-performing schools.
"A great deal has happened in education nationally and within individual states since NCLB was enacted. Congress seems receptive to learning about these developments--what is working and what isn't in their state. For their part, state board members want to be a resource to lawmakers so that the mistakes of the past aren't repeated and will be corrected. NASBE and state board of education members will continue work with Congress to improve the No Child Left Behind Act as the legislative process moves forward," said Brenda Welburn, NASBE Executive Director.
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings spoke to members during a briefing at Department of Education headquarters.
The conference continues on Friday with sessions on national standards and teacher effectiveness, and presentations by Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, Kimberly Oliver, the 2006 National Teacher of the Year, and Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund.
NASBE, www.nasbe.org, represents America's state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking; advocate equality of access to educational opportunity; promote excellence in the education of all students; and assure responsible lay governance of education.