Advice from Ken Goodman on NCLB
by Ken Goodman
Representative RaÃºl Grijalva, a member of the House Education Committee, held a briefing on NCLB in Tucson yesterday.
The most important thing he reported is that NCLB reauthorization will
be on the front burner when Congress reconvenes in September. They
purpose to have a draft of the revised NCLB in mid-September and send it
to the House in early October. He promised to post the reauthorization
bill on his website for comment and response as soon as it is available.
He spoke of three F's the committee is considering in revising NCLB:
Fairmess, flexibility and and finances. He indicated that he is part of
a group of 4-5 democrats on the committee pushing for serious changes in
NCLB. He's particularly concerned about bilingual and minority students.
He mentioned that the appropriations committee has recommended diverting
60% of Reading First money until the mess over mandated materials is
cleared up. He's also concerned about the impact of NCLB on special ed
programs and said that IDEA should always supercede NCLB.
What this means is that the next six weeks will be crucial . It looksd
like the committee wants to make some basic changes particularly around
testing, punitive aspects of NCLB and flexibility for language learners
and special education. The possibility still exists that they might just
pass a continuing resolution which could continue NCLB as is and push
the whole thing off until after the Nov 2008 election. That would be a
disaster for two more classes of school entrants .
My recommendations: Congress- particualry members of the House and
Senate education committees-- need to be bombarded with email, letters and
phone calls calling for major changes in NCLB. Be sure to contact your
own members of Congress.
Here are the issues I would focus on:
1. Getting rid of the punitive aspects of NCLB. Making it support
schools that need help rather punishing them.
2. Rewarding growth rather than punishing failure.
3. Providing 4 years of transition for English learners.
4. Accomodation for special ed students with IDEA having precedence
5. Getting rid of "highly" in judging who is qualified and providing
funding to support the teacher education necessary to produce the needed
certified teachers. Emphasizing that certified teachers are qualified.
6. Narrowing of the curriculum under NCLB - bringing arts, phys ed,
play back into the school day
6. Getting rid of AYP and using broader criteria for judging success
7. Punishing the crooks who used Reading First to force their own
products and ideology on states and local districts.
8. Undoing the damage doen by those crooks- Requiring state
contracts with the Dept of AEd under NCLB to be renegotiated.
9. Invite your reps to see for themseves the damage done to kids and
Spread the word. This is the time that we can make a difference.
I'll provide the information on how to access the language of the
proposed bill as soon as Grijalva makes it available.
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES