Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

A Plan for ‘Going Beyond’ the No Child Left Behind Act

January 17, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

An article in your Dec. 20, 2006, issue described a Dec. 12 meeting in Washington during which education experts argued for a broad liberal arts education for all K-12 students (“Schools Urged to Push Beyond Math, Reading to Broader Curriculum”). As some participants pointed out, the focus on standardized testing in reading and math, motivated by the current version of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, has pushed other subjects to the margins in some schools. I agree with Diane Ravitch, quoted in the article, that schools “must aim for far more than mastery of the basics, far more than the possession of tools for economic competitiveness.”

The Fairfax County, Va., school board has spent the past year developing a framework for going beyond No Child Left Behind. The student-achievement goals, developed with community input, provide for a range of academic emphases, including the fine and practical arts, cultural understanding, use of technology, and, perhaps most revolutionary by U. S. standards, competence in two languages. In addition, the district has goals for essential life skills—qualities of personal character such as honesty, conflict resolution, lifelong learning, identification of personal goals, critical thinking, good work habits, and financial competence—as well as goals for community responsibility, including civic understanding and participation in and understanding of government.

These are not aspirations to put on a poster or in a book. They are goals for which schools—as well as students and parents—will be held responsible. Some are more difficult to measure than others, but we intend to find ways to at least benchmark achievement of them all. Some teachers and principals, on hearing that the board was committed to such goals, and not just to higher test scores, were skeptical. But they have come to understand that the board really does believe that state test scores are not the only important measure of success.

That gives our teachers and principals the freedom to provide the kind of education they believe is best for their students—the kind of well-rounded education called for by the symposium participants in your story.

Jack D. Dale

Superintendent

Fairfax County Public Schools

Falls Church, Va.

A version of this article appeared in the January 17, 2007 edition of Education Week as A Plan for ‘Going Beyond’ the No Child Left Behind Act

Events

Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Proven Strategies to Improve Reading Scores
In this webinar, education and reading expert Stacy Hurst will provide a look at some of the biggest issues facing curriculum coordinators, administrators, and teachers working in reading education today. You will: Learn how schools
Content provided by Reading Horizons

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: January 12, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education School Bus Driver Retires After 48 Years Behind Wheel
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick sat behind the wheel for the final time last week, wrapping up a 48-year career for the district.
3 min read
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick poses with one of her farewell signs. Flick has been driving for Charles City School District for 48 years.
Betty Flick quickly fell in love with the job and with the kids, which is what has had her stay in the district for this long.
Courtesy of Abby Koch/Globe Gazette
Education Briefly Stated: December 1, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read