Let me share the work involved with the ESEA task force and the thinking behind our recommendations. The ESEA Task Force was composed of principals from across our nation and our goal was not to “fix” NCLB but to develop recommendations for the federal government’s role in education that would support states’ efforts in raising the achievement of every student. The task force went back to the original intent of ESEA to provide equitable educational opportunities for all children in the United States.
Much dissatisfaction has been voiced over the high stakes accountability system of NCLB. The federal government provides a very small percentage of funds to states but requires strict adherence to their testing requirements. Many states had established strong accountability systems and had to completely revamp their assessment systems to meet the federal mandates. Basically, we are calling for a return to state assessment systems with the role of the federal government to provide funding to ensure educational equity for our children. In addition, a system that utilizes a growth model assessment approach with multiple measures of achievement is recommended. Other components include recommendations to help schools succeed, special education, English Language Learners, well-qualified professionals, and supplementing the K-12 educational system.
Now we must initiate the tremendous work of getting the word out and working with legislators to enact the needed changes. We must have your help to make this happen! So, what do you think? Will these recommendations get the job done and how do we mobilize the tremendous principal leadership out there to ensure the needed changes happen? Are you willing to get involved?