Monday, February 1, 2010

Will "work-and-college-ready" replace "proficient" as federal goal?

The Obama administration has begun briefings and discussions on changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. ESEA is the massive federal legislation that contains the No Child Left Behind rules and the core Title 1 funding for low-income students. According to a New York Times report, the proposals include:
  • Dropping the 2014 deadline for all students to be proficient.
  • Setting a new target of having all students be "college or career ready" at the end of high school.
  • Requiring that district teacher evaluations include the use of student data as a condition for receiving federal education money.
Another part of the article puzzles me. Jack Jennings of the the Center on Education Policy is quoted saying:
“Right now most federal money goes out in formulas, so schools know how much they’ll get, and then use it to provide services for poor children. The department thinks that’s become too much of an entitlement. They want to upend that scheme by making states and districts pledge to take actions the administration considers reform, before they get the money.”
In a memorable week of early 2003, I read the current law from end to end, and I can say with confidence that it already requires state and district pledges to implement specified reforms. If the plan is to change the list of required methods, that's not a big deal. If the plan is to have more serious steps to ensure that the required approaches are well understood and well applied, that could be big news. I'll have to hear more to know whether that part is a major change or a minor one.

1 comment:

  1. The 2014 issue is a mixed message. We are proud of the many schools and districts that took this charge seriously, made changes, and reached proficient and beyond. Dropping it does indeed validate the idea that this law was only meant for some but not realistic for all. Unfortunate if your child attended school where the later was indeed the belief.


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