As NCLB Stalls, Local Officials Stew

January 04, 2008 1 min read

One year ago, as Washington was gearing up to reauthorize NCLB, I talked about the law’s prospects with a former Senate aide. People on the local level need guidance on how to address some of the law’s complicated rules, said Ellen Guiney, who is now the executive director of the Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools. Without it, questions will be settled in court—something no one wants. (See Bush to Start NCLB Push in Congress.)

One year later, not much has changed. Neither the House nor the Senate has moved NCLB bills. And local officials are still crying for help—if this story from the Tennessean is any indication.

District officials in the Nashville area are saying NCLB is improperly identifying schools as failing to make AYP, is encouraging teachers to overlook gifted kids, and is diverting federal money for private tutoring. All are common complaints from the field. Policymakers acknowledge that the law needs fixing; Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., does so in the Tennessean (although his quote doesn’t address his constituents’ specific complaints).

Will Congress do something about NCLB 2008? That remains to be seen. But it sounds as if educators in Nashville have given up hope. Do others out there feel the same way?

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.