Federal

As NCLB Turns 5, Washington Outlines Ways to Change It

By Lynn Olson & David J. Hoff — January 09, 2007 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The fifth anniversary of the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act had more to do with its future than its past.

In a series of events across Washington on Jan. 8, Bush administration officials and lawmakers started to outline their ideas of how to revise the law, addressing the need to improve teacher quality, find ways to turn around struggling schools, and establish challenging standards that define what students should know and be able to do.

At a White House meeting, President Bush met with the leaders of Congress’ education committees, covering all of those issues and others, including whether the law has adequate funding behind it.

“We made our case that the legislation clearly needs additional resources to be successful,” Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said in a news conference after the White House meeting. “I do not believe we can accomplish [reauthorization] without additional funding.”

Earlier in the day, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings outlined several important changes she and others in the Bush administration want Congress to make as it revisits the law, which is scheduled to be reauthorized this year.

Ms. Spellings said the law has been successful in spawning academic improvements in elementary schools, and said she would like to see its emphasis on testing and accountability extended further into high schools. The law currently requires states to assess students in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school.

“We need more accountability, more measurement,” she said in a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s headquarters. “We need to broaden our accountability with additional subjects. It’s absolutely critical that we focus on high schools this year.”

National Standards

Also on Monday, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., the second-ranking majority member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and a potential presidential contender, and Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Mich., introduced a bill that would provide incentives for states to adopt voluntary national education standards in mathematics and science, to be developed by the governing board for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

A few days earlier, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the new chairman of that committee, introduced a bill that would encourage states to benchmark their own standards and tests to NAEP, often known as the “nation’s report card,” but would stop short of developing national education standards. Both bills would give states incentives to increase the rigor of their standards, rather than mandate national standards. Secretary Spellings said she would support efforts such as Sen. Kennedy’s that would provide states with incentives to independently adopt challenging standards.

“Any time there’s a carrot approach as opposed to a stick for raising the bar, that will be well received,” Ms. Spellings said at the White House news conference.

Earlier in the day, in a speech commemorating the law’s anniversary, she said she would not support anything that would give her or her agency control over the content of such standards. “I’m not sure people want me to be the person setting standards for their schools,” she said.

Events

Jobs 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
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

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

Federal Biden Admin. Says New K-12 Agenda Tackles Absenteeism, Tutoring, Extended Learning
The White House unveiled a set of K-12 priorities at the start of an election year.
4 min read
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona participates in a roundtable discussion with students from Dartmouth College on Jan. 10, 2024, on the school's campus, in Hanover, N.H.
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona participates in a roundtable discussion with students from Dartmouth College on Jan. 10, 2024, on the school's campus, in Hanover, N.H.
Steven Senne/AP
Federal Lawmakers Want to Reauthorize a Major Education Research Law. What Stands in the Way?
Lawmakers have tried and failed to reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act over the past nearly two decades.
7 min read
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., left, joins Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, as Starbucks founder Howard Schultz answers questions about the company's actions during an ongoing employee unionizing campaign, at the Capitol in Washington, on March 29, 2023.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., left, joins Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, at the Capitol in Washington, on March 29, 2023. The two lawmakers sponsored a bill to reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Federal Will the Government Actually Shut Down This Time? What Educators Should Know
The federal government is once again on the verge of shutting down. Here's why educators should care, but shouldn't necessarily worry.
1 min read
Photo illustration of Capitol building and closed sign.
iStock
Federal Biden Admin. Warns Schools to Protect Students From Antisemitism, Islamophobia
The U.S. Department of Education released a "Dear Colleague" letter reminding schools of their obligation to address discrimination.
3 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office at the Department of Education on Sept. 20, 2023 in Washington.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview in his office at the U.S. Department of Education on Sept. 20, 2023 in Washington.
Mark Schiefelbein/AP