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Commission on NCLB: Second Meeting

This hearing will be live on the Internet: www.nclbcommission.org

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2006

Contact: Jennifer W. Adams
Phone: 202/736-3858 (O) 202/285-4268 (C)

@ 9:30 AM EST

Commission to Hold Second Hearing in Connecticut
Testing: Making it Work for Children and Schools
Hearing on Effectively Measuring Student
Performance and Achievement

Washington, DC---Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes will co-chair the second in a series of hearings on the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). This hearing will help inform the Commission's recommendations on how NCLB can assist in making testing work for children and schools. The hearing will take place TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 9:30 AM EST and will be held at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut.

The Commission on No Child Left Behind is an independent, bipartisan effort to improve the No Child Left Behind Act and ensure it is a more useful force in closing the achievement gap that separates disadvantaged children and their peers. The Commission will uncover the successes of NCLB, as well as provisions which need to be changed or eliminated. The Commission, after a year of hearings, analysis and research, will report to Congress and the Administration in early 2007 with its recommendations.

WHAT: Hearing on Effectively Measuring Student Performance and Achievement WHO:

Commission on No Child Left Behind

* Honorable Richard Blumenthal , Connecticut State Attorney General
* Dr. Betty Sternberg, Commissioner, Connecticut State Department of Education
* Mr. James Peyser, Chairman, Massachusetts State Board of Education
* Mr. Joel Klein, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education
* Mr. William Taylor, Chair, Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, and Counsel to the NAACP in CT vs. Spellings
* Ms. Aimee Guidera, Director, Data Quality Campaign, National Center for Education Accountability
* Dr. Stuart Kahl, President, Measured Progress

WHEN: TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 9, 2006 @ 9:30 AM EST WHERE: The Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities, Hoffman Auditorium,
1678 Asylum Ave., West Hartford, CT 06117

**THE HEARING WILL BE LIVE ON THE INTERNET AT: www.nclbcommission.org **

NCLB requires states to implement annual assessments, aligned with state standards, in reading and mathematics for grades 3 through 8 and at least once in grades 10 through 12 (seven different grade levels). Beginning in the 2007-8 school year, states must also assess students in science once in each of three grade spans: 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12. These requirements build on the 1994 authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which required states to put in place standards and tests in reading and mathematics at the three grade spans that will be used for science assessments.

Results of required assessments must be reported for all subgroups of students including major racial/ethnic groups, low-income students as well as those with disabilities and limited English proficiency. These results form the basis of NCLB's accountability measures for schools including: being identified for improvement, restructuring and other corrective actions and interventions such as public school choice and supplemental education services (free tutoring).

In 2005, the State of Connecticut sued the U.S. Department of Education over the cost of the testing provisions of NCLB, claiming that the state's share of federal dollars appropriated for state assessments was insufficient to fund additional tests of grades 3, 5 and 7 that were of the same caliber the state was currently using. The state further argued that their current tests in grades 4, 6, 8 and 10 in combination with the use of formative (low stakes) assessments delivered every four to six weeks are sufficient.

The Connecticut branch of the NAACP has joined the suit-CT vs. Spellings-as a defendant in intervention on the side of the U.S. Department of Education. The NAACP has argued that the state's suit, which raises objections to testing and other requirements in NCLB, hurts minority and economically disadvantaged school children and wastes state resources that could be better used to improve struggling schools.

Connecticut's performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is consistently stronger than most other states. However, according to the most recent NAEP results, Connecticut currently has the largest gap in achievement between poor and non-poor children in the nation.

Commissioners will hear from leaders of state and major urban school systems and other national experts regarding their views on the success and challenges of the implementation of the annual assessment requirements of NCLB and whether they have made an impact on improving student performance and closing achievement gaps between various subgroups. Commissioners will also hear both sides of the Connecticut debate regarding the need for annual testing in grades 3 through 8. Witnesses will also address state and testing industry capacity to effectively implement NCLB requirements for student testing and accurately reporting results in a timely manor, including the strength of State education data systems. This is critical given the importance of test results as the basis for determining the law's various accountability measures for schools and districts as well as interventions such as free tutoring and public school choice.

Any persons or organizations wishing to submit written comments for the hearing record may do so by sending such comments electronically to nclbfeedback@aspeninstitute.org please include 'Hearing Testimony' in the subject line. Written comments can also be sent through the U.S. Mail to: The Commission on No Child Left Behind, One Dupont Circle, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20036. ALL WRITTEN COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY COB May 16, 2006. Written comments mailed to the Commission must be accompanied by an electronic version on computer disk. Those submitting comments must clearly identify themselves with a valid mailing address and clearly indicating any affiliations the comments represent.

Submissions will be included in the record of the hearing at the discretion of the Commission. The Commission will not alter the content of your submission, but does reserve the right to format it accordingly. Submissions must be no longer than 10 pages in length, including any attachments.

The Commission on No Child Left Behind is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Spencer Foundation. This document is published to communicate the results of the Commission's work. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in the Commission's documents are entirely those of the author(s) and should not be attributed in any manner to the donors.

— Press Release
The Commission on No Child Left Behind


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