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

Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.
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
Privacy & Security Webinar
Navigating Modern Data Protection & Privacy in Education
Explore the modern landscape of data loss prevention in education and learn actionable strategies to protect sensitive data.
Content provided by  Symantec & Carahsoft

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: June 19, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 12, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read