As part of NCLB’s 7th anniversary celebration, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has released a long document entitled “Great Expectations.”
The 67-page document summarizes the Bush administration’s message on NCLB for the past two years. Using a common device, it offers a word for the first five letters of the alphabet—two words actually for “C"—and explains why each word is important for the future. Here’s a synopsis:
Accountability: "The next president will face calls to dismantle or radically redefine accountability. He should resist them." Bipartisanship: "The No Child Left Behind Act was approved overwhelmingly because it united Republicans and Democrats behind a cause greater than themselves. It is time for that same spirit of unity to motivate everyone involved in the public education system." Children: "We must also not fall into the trap of blaming poor academic performance on poverty or family circumstances. It is our responsibility to provide a quality education so children can overcome their hardships." Choice: "Students who suffer in silence in chronically underperforming schools must be offered a lifeline. Saving a child is more important than protecting a building or a job." Data: "Without quality data and sound science to guide us, we risk making decisions based not on facts but assumptions." Expectations: "The lesson of the last eight years is that if we expect more from our students, we will get it. ... When expectations rise, standards and test scores soon follow."
Here’s the conclusion: “There is no letter ‘F'—because failure is not an option. We cannot fail as long as we have the will to sustain and strengthen reform.”
Starting Jan. 20, we’ll have a chance to learn whether these will be the priorities of the Obama administration.
A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.