The Scoop on No Child Left Behind
President Barack Obama recently announced that states would be able to apply for waivers from the Adequate Yearly Progress timelines of the No Child Left Behind Act, in the hopes that standards in schools will increase. The waiver will allow states to have flexibility on federal education funds to meet the students’ and school’s needs.
“A waiver was established because certain parts in the No Child Left Behind Policy did not work since Bush first created it, and it needed to be fixed,” said Elaine Quesinberry, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education. “Congress was able to give states an outline on what they need to do to implement school reforms so we can have a stronger academic system and continue to improve in schools,” she said. States have to apply for the waiver by the end of November.
However, educators such as Jessica Chong, a public school teacher at P.S. 190 in New York City, understand the new approach for NCLB but are concerned that the policy would make teachers’ lives much harder or might not be effective.
“I’m concerned. There are still children left behind ... no policy is ever fully implemented. I have become disheartened somewhat in our political leaders’ stand on education. All they talk about are charter schools, and the way I see it they just want to shut the public school system down; they hate our strong union,” said Chong. “All I keep hearing is how horrible or lackluster some of the charter schools really are. On state tests, which are, unfortunately, the only thing these big shots care about, the charter schools are not doing much better than public schools either.”
Senators Tom Harkin and Mike Enzi, chairman and ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, worked on a bipartisan bill for education that would prepare students for college. However, in order for students to be more diligent in school, Senators want teachers to make sure they have higher expectations for their students.
“I deeply appreciate the efforts of Senators Harkin and Enzi to build in more flexibility for states and districts, and focus on the goal of building a world-class education system that prepares all students for college and careers,” said Arne Duncan, U.S Secretary of Education in his Ed.gov blog. “However, it is equally important that we maintain a strong commitment to accountability for the success of all students, and I am concerned that the Senate bill does not go far enough.”
“Parents, teachers, and state leaders across the country understand that in order to prepare all of your young people to compete in the global economy, we must hold ourselves and each other accountable at every level of the education system,” Duncan said.
The National Education Association, the largest association and labor union for education, agrees with Obama’s approach to revise the No Child Left Behind Act. “Now, there is a bill that would allow educators and principals to move forward to help students, especially students with disabilities, based on the waiver plans for each state,” said Dennis Rugel, president of NEA. #
Dominique Carson is a former intern at Education Update and a student at Brooklyn College.