Why Reauthorization of NCLB Is So Important
The Gates donation of $1 million to the PTA was to promote the Common Core Standards, but the ideology spills over into NCLB reauthorization.
Money talks. . . and carries a big stick.
No Child Left Behind. There arenÃ¢€™t many educators or parents who havenÃ¢€™t heard of NCLB, the principal federal education law affecting elementary and secondary education. Over the years, NCLB has drawn criticism from PTA members: "All they do is teach to the test," "States are lowering their standards," or "It penalizes schools, taking away resources where they are needed most."
The truth is, NCLB is only the latest version of legislation that President Lyndon Johnson signed into law in 1965. During that time, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was a landmark victory for education advocates, providing much-needed resources for schools serving low-income students. ESEA authorizes funds and outlines provisions to support education initiatives, such as:
* After-school programs and school social workers
* Professional development for teachers
* State assessments
* Parent and family engagement
The reauthorization process is a golden opportunity that advocates get every five years to educate Congress on changes needed in the law. ESEA-NCLB's reauthorization, which should have been completed in 2007, provides an opportunity for dissatisfied policymakers and education advocates to improve the law. PTA is working with Congress and the Department of Education to address the widely recognized challenges posed by NCLB, including strengthening its parent involvement provisions and safeguarding the Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs), which have been consolidated with charter school programming in the President's FY 11 budget request. Consolidation not only directs funding away from the program, but also signals PIRCs removal from law.
ESEA is an important law and is beginning to move on the Hill. The U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor is requesting comments as it begins a bipartisan overhaul of ESEA. The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is holding hearings. Now is the opportunity for advocates to tell Congress to improve this principal federal law to ensure that all children receive a high-quality education.
Take Action Now!
You can help! Please urge both of your Senators and Representative to reauthorize ESEA now and to safeguard PIRCs under ESEA. PIRCs improve parental and family engagement in children's education, which is a cornerstone of what PTA supports.
PTA's Take Action Center makes it easy to send an automated alert to your members of Congress telling them you want them to act right away on this important law.
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES