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No Child Left Behind has been unsuccessful, says bipartisan report

The Guardian – Megan Carpentier

“It’s been almost 15 years since the US Congress passed the much-derided No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education reform bill in an effort to improve American students’ international competitiveness in reading and math, which had been falling for quite some time. On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of legislators from the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) declared in a new report that the reform efforts of states in the wake of NCLB had been unsuccessful.”(more)

NCLB’s legacy: As the ESSA era begins, have policymakers, educators learned from the past?

The Hechinger Report – Emily Richmond

“To be sure, ongoing ill will over NCLB influenced the bitter, drawn-out negotiations over the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which became ESSA (NCLB was also a reauthorization of the 1965 act). Finally completed last December — more than eight years late — ESSA restores more outright control to states for setting expectations for student achievement and for deciding what happens to schools that fall short of those benchmarks. It also seeks to de-emphasize test scores, although students will continue to be tested annually in most grades. And it gives states more leeway in how they identify their lowest-achieving campuses and the remedies they prescribe to help those schools improve.”(more)

Advocating for high-achievers

Thomas B. Fordham Institute – Brandon Wright

“Thanks to No Child Left Behind and its antecedents, American education has focused in recent decades on ensuring that all children, especially those from poor and minority backgrounds, attain a minimum level of academic achievement. Yet our focus on the performance of students “below the bar” has been accompanied by a neglect of girls and boys who have already cleared it, and especially those who soar over it. While it’s true that “federal rulemaking must not inhibit the ability of states to continue to focus on the lowest-performing students,” as the group Chiefs for Change has stated, our high-performing students deserve an education that meets their needs, and maximizes their potential. Far too few of them, especially the poor and minority children among them, are getting that kind of education today.”(more)

School Policies Have Gotten Smarter in the Decade After No Child Left Behind

Education Next – Michael J. Petrilli and Chester E. Finn, Jr.

“A decade ago, U.S. education policies were a mess. It was the classic problem of good intentions gone awry. At the core of the good idea was the commonsense insight that if we want better and more equitable results from our education system, we should set clear expectations for student learning, measure whether our kids are meeting those expectations, and hold schools accountable for their outcomes (mainly gauged in terms of academic achievement). And sure enough, under the No Child Left Behind law, every state in the land mustered academic standards in (at least) reading and math, annual tests in grades 3–8, and some sort of accountability system for their public schools.”(more)

Revised NCLB Gave Boost to Arts Integration

The Huffington Post – John M. Eger

“Last month, President Obama signed an education reform bill that revised the so-called No Child Left Behind act. Surprisingly, the bill had bipartisan support from both the House and Senate, perhaps because the bill shifts power from the federal government to the states on issues of school performance and accountability. The new legislation called “Every Student Succeeds Act” does a great deal more, as we will undoubtedly come to better understand in the weeks and months ahead. One amendment that hasn’t been much talked about – certainly not reported on in the major press outlets-was the language introduced by Congresswoman Bonamici, on behalf of the 67 member Congressional STEAM Caucus she chairs. It calls for “integrating other academic subjects, including the arts, into STEM (for science, technology, engineering, and math) programs to increase participation in STEM, improve attainment of STEM-related skills, and promote well-rounded education.””(more)

5 K-12 trends to watch in 2016

Education Dive – Erin McIntyre

“The year 2015 saw many small changes in education, and a momentous one, long-awaited by many: the departure of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. With just weeks left in the year, tjhe updated federal education bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act, flew through the Senate and the House after a revision process that some called a “love-fest.” The ESSA was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 10. But that’s just the beginning of what to keep an eye on in 2016. A number of issues are poised to shape K-12 over the coming year. From budget crunches that are expected to shut down schools to the development of unique learning plans for individual students, here’s a glimpse of five hot topics administrators should keep on their radar.”(more)