Friday, March 11, 2011

ESEA/NCLB: Time for Refocusing

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan testified at the House Education and Workforce Committee this week. He addressed many topics, including budget issues and the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization.

One statement he made gained attention from the media. Sec. Duncan said that the U.S. Department of Education was projecting that as many as 82 percent of schools will not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) next year. Many people have questioned this number; however, I believe he is pretty accurate in the projection. Certainly, something must be wrong with a system that labels 82 percent of our schools and districts as failures.

I have written about this issue in several past blogs. (NOTE: See the links at the end of this blog for those postings.) On a few occasions, my support for a rewrite of ESEA has been misinterpreted. Let me be clear that I support high expectations for all students, teachers, principals, school districts and state agencies. Our number-one goal should be student success. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) focused on student success; however, the actual details of implementation lacked equity across the nation.

What I am supporting is a change from the NCLB minimum levels of proficiency for students and schools to a focus on a college and career readiness and a focus on student growth. Kentucky is leading the way in developing an accountability model with these components to replace No Child Left Behind. I have requested that Sec. Duncan review our model. I have worked with the Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO’s) committee on next-generation accountability systems to mirror our state model after the committee’s work.

Our proposed model will be reviewed for the final time by the Kentucky Board of Education at its April 2011 meeting. If you are interested in the details of our model, see the model and the regulatory language that the KBE will be asked to approve next month here.

Finally, let me be clear that no one is trying to avoid the consequences of NCLB. We are trying to build a system that promotes high expectations for ALL children, accountability for students, teachers, principals, districts, and state agencies, and resources/support for all involved.

Blog Postings on ESEA

March 26, 2010 – Focusing on Post-High School Life and Achievement Gaps

April 23, 2010 – Vision for Education Reform in Kentucky

April 30, 2010 – Priorities for School and District Accountability

June 11, 2010 – Teacher Effectiveness

August 6, 2010 – Planning for Proficiency

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