The end of NCLB?

Wonk alert! Here is a look at the (major) changes a bipartisan group of lawmakers have proposed for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, otherwise known as No Child Left Behind.

The law was up for renewal in 2007, but the process has moved so slowly that President Barack Obama announced last month his administration would circumvent Congress’s halting progress by letting states apply for waivers in exchange for agreeing to certain education reforms.

Education Week blogger Alyson Klein has a nice summary of the proposal, which is a dramatic departure from the current federal law in that it leaves much up to the states’ discretion. It was introduced by by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Here’s what our nation’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, had to say:

“A bipartisan bill will not have everything that everyone wants, but it must build on our common interests: high standards; flexibility for states, school districts and schools; and a more focused federal role that promotes equity, accountability and reform. This bill is a very positive step toward a reauthorization that will provide our students and teachers with the support they need, and I salute Senators Harkin and Enzi for their good work and their bipartisan approach.”


Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • http://www.overlooktutorialacademy.net Larry Brown

    One can ONLY hope that this new attempt will recognize that NO school, just like no student can attain 100% of anything except effort. As an tutor and educator I have wored to close edcational gaps and I know that they cannot EVER be legislated away. NCLB has so far served mostly to point out to many of our California students that they are not ‘good’ enough. THAT needs to be changed first and foremost!

  • Nextset

    NCLB is a scam that first and foremost is a massive collection of demographic data sorted by race. One thing it is doing is putting the lie to the fantasy that all people are created equal – cognitively. We already had the datasets from “The Bell Curve” to settle this. Now we have more.

    The authors of NCLB knew exactly what would happen. They may have sold it to dummies who don’t have the benefit of a University Education – but the authors themselves knew what would happen.

    It is wrong and wasteful to pour any more money into fixing “the Gap”. You cannot change it by education. What you can do is work to have students get the most of life consistent with their aptitude and cognitive ability. The money we are wasting on remedial programs (trying to teach an 80 IQ to perform as a 100 IQ) is money the students are cheated of in Vocational Programs.

    Bottom line is the black students get screwed in the NCLB programs far worse than anything we saw in the pre-Great Society public school programs. – And future black income and mobility results decine.

    Brave New World.

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    As NCLB sunsets, will the “Options” program also be history?
    Is this push towards “neighborhood schools” a sign that OUSD is already poised to move kids “back where they came from”?
    If charter schools were created as alternatives to low performing schools under NCLB, then will our district begin to close those schools that have failed to out perform existing OUSD public schools?

  • Katy Murphy

    That’s a good question: If Adequate Yearly Progress or Program Improvement are discontinued, would families who live near (what have been known as) Program Improvement schools no longer have the right to transfer to a school with higher test scores?

    It sounds like such decisions would be left up to the states under this early version of the draft proposal.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    I’m no expert on any of this, but my understanding of the Neighborhood Schools movement is that ultimately, Oakland students would have access to good schools right WHERE they “came from.” If a student lives two blocks from a school, it’s rather a shame for that student to have to take the bus, or for his parents to have to drive him, 52 blocks to “the good school.”

  • Katy Murphy

    That’s my understanding too. The catch is that many parents who have chosen schools outside their neighborhood say their local school isn’t good right now (or in a safe area, or welcoming), and that they don’t want to lose the (somewhat limited) options they have. Lakeview and Kaiser parents have expressed that sentiment loud and clear these last few weeks.

  • Kaiser Parent

    I don’t know why that is considered a shame to go to school in a different neighborhood. I don’t know why the concept of “community” is now being restricted to the neighborhood where one resides. My experience is anecdotal perhaps, but I know so many people who grew up in Oakland who have always gone to school outside their neighborhoods. In any given day, I travel, visit, work, eat in 3 or 4 different neighborhoods throughout Oakland. It seems to be part of the culture of this city to enjoy and thrive in so many different parts of town and the access from the freeway to Bart is pretty good actually.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    If you’ve got the time and resources to take your children across town to school, and a reliable car where they can sleep or do homework on the way, great! Maybe for you it’s a morning/afternoon bonding experience.

    But for a single working parent, or a disabled grandparent, or a parent without a car, the convenience of having a good, safe school up the street can make a huge difference in the family’s quality of life.

    Even for older students who take public transportation across town to school, there are extra challenges around getting up earlier, catching the bus on time, remembering the pass or the fare money, and lucking out of any public drama that might ensue on the way to school or on the way back home. Commuting miles away to school should be an option, not a necessity.

    I’m guessing, too, that part of the motivation behind the push for neighborhood schools is to cut down on truancy and tardiness. It’s just simply easier for kids to get to school on time when the school is nearby.

    I’m not a parent, either, but I would think that for a child, it would be nicer to have one’s school friends live a block or two away instead of however many miles away.

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    It will take years for the “STEM Corridor” to begin to show any improvement. In the short time children are in elementary school, we are talking upwards of 30% of their educational time. The schools should be safe and doing well PRIOR to any mandatory “go back to your own neighborhood” mandates happen. It is absurd that the district is just hoping that West Oakland schools improve? Well that didn’t happen, so now they are hoping STEM does it. In the meantime children suffer and parents choices diminish?
    And I agree with Kaiser Parent wholeheartedly…
    “community” is only limited in its construct by the mind defining it.

  • http://www.movingforwardedu.com Lacy Asbill

    As of 10/14/22, the California Department of Education did not submit an intent to apply for a waiver from the mandates of NCLB. 39 states did submit letters of intent (see http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility/documents/states-intending-esea-flexibility-20111012.doc for a list). Interestingly, CA, NY, and TX are all big states that do not seem to be looking for flexibility.

  • Katy Murphy

    That’s an interesting observation. If NCLB is rewritten, I imagine the waiver issue would become moot, right? Well, that’s if it is, in fact, rewritten.

    The draft of the reauthorization proposal has been changed again — this time, to back off on some of the teacher evaluation provisions. This has pleased the National Education Association and some Republican lawmakers, but not Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Ed Week reports: