Monday, February 19, 2007

In the News

The much-anticipated report by the Commission on No Child Left Behind sponsored by the Aspen Institute was released last week. It recommends the reauthorization of NCLB along with a laundry list of new accountability measures. Some have already begun calling it "NCLB on steroids," but to me it looks more like the kind of document that results when each committee member gets to toss something in and no one sets clear priorities. You can read the executive summary or download the entire thing here. One of the better comments I've seen about it comes from Jay Matthews in his analysis at the Washington Post: "Bottom-up reform, I realize, is often slow and uncertain. But is top-down reform any better? A little bit more of the former, and a bit less of the latter, might be the way to go."

A very different take on NCLB is in a recent letter from ten senators, including some heavy-weights like Patrick Leahy and Carl Levin. In the letter (to the Senate HELP committee, where the reauthorization of NCLB will begin), the lawmakers state:

"We have concluded that the testing mandates of No Child Left Behind in their current form are unsustainable and must be overhauled significantly during the reauthorization process beginning this year."

"While we all agree that states and districts should be held accountable for academic outcomes and continue working toward closing the achievement gap among their students, federal education law should not take the form of a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach."

It's posted on the NEA website.

Finally, in case you haven't heard, there's a great debate going on in the world of children's literature about the appearance of the word "scrotum" in The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal. You can read about it in the NY Times.

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