President Barack Obama plans to work with Congress in an effort to replace the No Child Left Behind law, which he announced during his recent weekly address.
Obama criticized the results of recent federal education policy, saying “we threw money at education without making sure our schools were actually improving, or whether we were giving teachers the tools they need, or whether our taxpayer dollars were being used effectively.” He then added, “our kids too often paid the price.”
Despite signs that children are beginning to do better in schools across the country, Obama believes more can still be done. “We have to do more to make sure they graduate from school fully prepared for college and a career,” he said.
As he works to create a new plan, Obama will focus on a decrease in the amount of standardized tests taken, a larger investment in preschool, and providing every child with “a fair shot in the new economy.”
At the same time, Obama dismissed an education reform plan submitted by Republicans that would replace the No Child Left Behind Act by returning much of the authority pertaining to education to each state, offering them the ability to decide how to fix their own failing schools instead of depending on plans developed by the federal government.
In addition, multiple federal programs would be joined into one flexible local grant program. Public money would also follow low-income students to new public schools.
The main goal of the proposal is to limit the power of the federal government and to offer more state and local control.
Obama argued that the plan would reduce the quality of schools in the nation while also causing many low-income students to be stuck in failing classrooms.
Meanwhile, a joint position statement was released by the Nebraska State Board of Education, Nebraska State Education Association and others, asking for a reinstatement of state control over academic standards, school accountability and teacher evaluations.
“We think it’s important the education community has one voice for our congressional representatives to be able to take that voice forward,” said Rachel Wise of Oakland, board president.
While the statement details the philosophy of the groups pertaining to the issue, it has very little concerning ideas on exactly how to rewrite the law, reports Joe Dejka for Omaha.com.
In one example, the statement avoided discussing whether or not the act went overboard in its public school testing requirements, but did ask that federal accountability measures be replaced with state and local systems for holding underperforming schools accountable.
“We don’t want the federal level to have overreach in the amount of testing and reporting,” said Wise.