Proceeds with Reform of NCLB No Child Left Behind
August 21, 2011
the new school year fast approaching and still no bill to reform the
federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the Obama
administration will provide a process for states to seek relief from key
provisions of the law, provided that they are willing to embrace
Melody Barnes, director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White
House, and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the
President's directive in the White House briefing room. Barnes explained
that the administration's proposal to fix NCLB has been with Congress
for 16 months, been the topic of numerous meetings and hearings, and
been subjected to partisan politics in the House. Last March—a full year
after submitting his proposal—the President called for a bill before the
start of the school year.
"America's future competitiveness is being decided today, in classrooms
across the nation. With no clear path to a bipartisan bill in Congress,
the President has directed us to move forward with an administrative
process to provide flexibility within the law for states and districts
that are willing to embrace reform," Barnes said.
She emphasized that such a process is "not a pass on accountability.
There will be a high bar for states seeking flexibility within the law.
We'll encourage all states to apply and each one should have a chance to
succeed. But those that don't will have to comply with No Child Left
Behind's requirements, until Congress enacts a law that will deliver
change to all 50 states."
administration's proposal for fixing NCLB calls for college- and
career-ready standards, more great teachers and principals, robust use
of data, and a more flexible and targeted accountability system based on
measuring annual student growth. Barnes and Duncan noted that the final
details on the ESEA flexibility package will reflect similar goals. The
specifics of the package will be made public in September.
Duncan remarked that NCLB is "forcing districts into one-size-fits-all
solutions that just don't work. The President understands this and he
has directed us to move ahead in providing relief—but only for states
and districts that are prepared to address our educational challenges."
"There is no magic bullet for fixing education and the best ideas will
always come from the local level—from the hardworking men and women in
our schools doing the hard work every day to educate our children,"
Duncan said. "We're still hopeful that Congress can continue its work
this fall. In the meantime, states and districts have an opportunity to