Thursday, February 23, 2012

Letter to Congress on Correcting No Child Left Behind

Rep. Roy Takumi

The National Conference of State Legislature’s (NCSL) Education Committee recently sent a letter, dated February 13, 2012, to Congress about proposed legislation that would make changes to No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Hawaii State House Representative Roy Takumi is co-chair of this committee, and he and co-chair Idaho Senator John Goedde submitted the letter on behalf of NCSL.

In 2002, Congress amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and reauthorized it as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB); today, Congress is considering legislation that again reauthorizes the statute.

Major provisions of these bills essentially limit the federal government’s role in education policy while giving states more power in accountability decisions.

In the letter to Congress, while applauding the House Education and Workforce Committee for advancing the process of reauthorization, the state lawmakers also noted that the bills do not contain all recommendations for amending NCLB that was made by NCSL.

A major provision in one of the bills that NCSL would oppose is the mandated teacher evaluations by the federal government. “Such a mandate is unnecessary as states are already developing evaluation systems on their own,” Takumi and Goedde say in the letter. "Half of the states passed legislation on teacher evaluation within the past two years, and more will consider these reforms this year. However, these changes are very complex and expensive, and even those states with funding and data systems in place are struggling to implement this reform with accuracy and integrity."

You can read the full letter here.

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