An education Christmas miracle
Published 11:37 pm Wednesday, December 16, 2015
The U.S. Senate earlier this week overwhelmingly voted for a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law that President Barack Obama called a “Christmas miracle.”
Implemented in 2002, No Child Left Behind had ambitious goals but was fraught with unintended consequences.
NCLB was roundly criticized as forcing teachers to concentrate on making sure students could pass standardized tests, and the new law is supposed to help with that. Students will still take federally required statewide math and reading exams but states will be encouraged to focus less on testing. It will take some of the pressure off underperforming schools by giving states the option to consider performance measures beyond test results. Teachers had said using test scores alone ignored many factors and was an unfair way to measure their effectiveness.
That the end was coming was writ large on chalkboards (they still use those in schools, right?) across the country over the past few years. Many states, including Alabama, had sought and received waivers from the U.S. Department of Education regarding many NCLB requirements as state and federal officials recognized that the law’s goals of proficiency would not be met. Try as they might, teachers and schools just couldn’t get all students proficient in math and reading in the timeframe NCLB authors sought.
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