The federal education law, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is scheduled for its five-year reauthorization in 2007, and this month the Senate and House committees responsible for education policy are starting to craft the structure and language for the reauthorization. While the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries and many of our ecumenical partners have affirmed the law’s stated goals of holding high expectations for all children and closing achievement gaps, we believe the law should not be reauthorized unless Congress addresses serious questions about how NCLB’s specific programs have been affecting public schools:
• While the law should set ambitious expectations for all children, the reauthorized NCLB should measure and honor growth in each child’s learning, not just average group scores.
• The reauthorized NCLB should reduce reliance on standardized testing and consider additional ways students can demonstrate learning.
• The reauthorized NCLB should shift the focus from punishing public schools and blaming teachers to strengthening school communities and supporting teachers.
• In the reauthorized NCLB, Congress should fully fund all the programs the law mandates.
NCLB should set ambitious and yet reachable goals, end labeling of children, blaming of teachers and stigmas for schools, take steps to develop programs that will improve the capacity of every school to serve children, and be fully funded by the federal government. To write to your senators and congressional representatives to tell them that NCLB needs to be fixed, click www.ucctakeaction.org/NCLB .
For more talking points on this issue, please refer to the following faith-based resources:
Ten Moral Concerns in the Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act
FIXING No Child Left Behind Talking Points
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Change No Child Left Behind and Improve Education