The clear, repeated, detailed, and undeniable limits on the authority of US secretary of education and the absence of any discussion of Title I funding portability are my chief reasons for supporting the Senate ESEA draft. And I think this bill could realistically garner enough votes in Congress to rid us once and for all of NCLB.
At one of the most divisive political moments in our nation's history, in a piece of legislation that itself is controversial and has failed to be reauthorized despite numerous attempts over the past six years, a bipartisan amendment providing for education innovation and research sailed through a Senate committee.
Annual testing is valuable, but students deserve a system that protects them from unnecessary, redundant tests. Congress should ensure that the SMART Act is included in the final ESEA bill that it sends to the president, because this will make us all smarter educators and give us additional time to make our students learn smarter.
Of course, it was supposed to be reauthorized in 2007, but what with partisan politics, outside influences and the lack of any general consensus around the various efforts, Congress has yet to successfully reauthorize the legislation. As a result, national educational policy has been a patchwork of waivers, dodges, and weaves unworthy of a great nation.
Congress can ensure a better future for our kids by reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with language that empowers schools to limit redundant benchmarking assessments, maintains annual standardized tests for third through eighth grade, and changes the stakes to offer more support to teachers serving students with the greatest needs.
The Common Core State Standards would ensure that Brandon would be not fall "behind" if his family needed to move to another state. But having high standards like CCSS is not enough. The standards must go hand-in-hand with high-quality annual assessments that provide data for Brandon's teachers wherever he happens to attend school.
If we're to meet the education goals we have set as a nation, if we are committed to liberty and justice for all, and if each student is to meet their individual goals, we need assessment as part of the NCLB reauthorization that is now debated by Congress. Only then will we have a critical tool necessary to help us move forward and grow our students. Otherwise, why teach?
A high-quality public education can unlock our children's potential. It can bring communities together. It can ensure a top-notch workforce for our economy and an engaged citizenry for our democracy. We have an opportunity with the ESEA reauthorization to help reclaim the promise of public education.