As I’ve mentioned before, the road to NCLB’s reauthorization in the House goes through California. Both the chairman and senior Republican on the education committee and the Speaker of the House all represent the Golden State. Throw in the other 50 House members representing California’s interests, and you have to pay attention to the politics there.
To that end, take note of Assembly Joint Resolution 23 that passed both chambers of the California legislature last month. It includes common complaints about the law. Not flexible enough. Inadequately funded. Too dependent on reading and math scores. But it also introduces a new wrinkle: Parents should be allowed to pull their children out of testing without schools suffering under the accountability system. The resolution passed by wide margins in both chambers.
Also check out this letter that a group state legislators sent Speaker Pelosi last month. “Specifically,” it says, “we find totally unacceptable the provisions that would implement an ill-conceived and counterproductive pay-for-performance or ‘merit pay’ plan.” (Note that the California Teachers Association has been helpful enough to post it for us.) The letter adds that the proposal “would place even more undue emphasis on test scores, create new sanctions for struggling schools, [and] undermine local control.”
Listen closely to what House members, particularly Democrats, say about teacher pay under NCLB in coming months. I’m betting you might hear the words “ill-conceived” and “counterproductive.”
P.S. The CTA Web site doesn’t name the legislators that signed the letter to Pelosi. I’m trying to get the list. I’ll post it when I do.
A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.