While President Bush met with congressional leaders this week about the upcoming reauthorization, there was some rumbling in education circles about an article written by Michael Petrilli, a former U.S. Department of Education official who helped promote NCLB. Petrilli wrote "I've gradually and reluctantly come to the conclusion that NCLB as enacted is fundamentally flawed and probably beyond repair. The positive part about NCLB, he explained, is that it has changed the conversation in education. “But let's face it: It doesn't help the dedicated principal who is pulling her hair out because of the law's nonsensical provisions," he says. Read the rest of Petrilli’s article at http://www.edexcellence.net/FOUNDATION/gadfly/index.cfm#3177.

The suspense to the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has been building for several months and many eyes are on the new Congress to see what action they will take. But what’s this in Monday’s Christian Science Monitor in which reporter Amanda Paulson writes, “While the conversation is heated, the likelihood that NLCB will be reauthorized this year may be small.” Paulson cites an informal poll of Washington insiders that was conducted by the Fordham Foundation. In the poll, the majority of respondents believe the reauthorization will be delayed until after the 2008 presidential election.

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re: All Eyes on Congress for NCLB reauth

· How has NCLB impacted you and your school?

I was present in Washington, DC for the ceremonial signing of the No Child Left Behind legislation. It was very exciting to see the bi-partisanship backing of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the promised support for public schools. However, the punitive nature of NCLB implementation and the lack of funding have not lived up to the promise.

My school has been able to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and continues to be a Title I School of Excellence. However, staff morale has been negatively impacted by NCLB. The possibility of being placed on a ‘needs improvement’ list and the negative publicity that would result has kept the pressure on. My staff has worked hard to help all children achieve. The current legislation’s tone does not promote teaching as a profession or recognize the efforts put forth by educators.

· If you could speak to members of Congress, what you would tell them is working with NCLB and should stay the same and what would you tell them is not working and needs tweaking?

We should continue to hold public schools to high standards. We should continue to disaggregate data to ensure that the needs of all subgroups are being addressed.

The same standards should apply to all schools that receive any public funds (e.g. Charter Schools).

We need to move away from ‘one-shot, high stakes testing’ and implement other measures of AYP. Methods that measure individual student growth as compared to their own previous scores are better indicators of progress than comparing this year’s third grade to last year’s third grade, etc.

The ESEA reauthorization must return to a spirit of helping all schools/students succeed by increasing support and building the capacity for success.