No Child Left Behind
In Partial Completion for
Introduction to Special Education
Obama in 2012 issued waivers to more than half the nation’s states freeing them from central provisions of the NCLB law. In exchange for the education waivers, schools and districts must promise to set new targets aimed at preparing students for colleges and careers. They must also tether evaluations of teachers and schools in part to student achievement on standardized tests. Senator Tom Harkin of Nebraska wrote a bill that would keep the law’s requirements that states test students in reading and math every year in grades three through eight, and once in high school, and make the scores public. But for about 9 of every 10 American schools, it would scrap the law’s federal system of accountability, under which schools must raise the proportion of students showing proficiency on the tests each year. States would still face federal oversight for the worst-performing 5 percent of schools, as well as for the 5 percent of schools in each state with the widest achievement gap between minority and white students. Several advocacy groups for minority students and the disabled have criticized Mr. Harkin’s bill. They argue that by eliminating the law’s central accountability provisions, the bill would represent “a significant step backward,” returning the nation to the years before No Child’s passage, when many states did a slipshod job of promoting student achievement. I believe that issuing the waivers is a good thing. House Republicans have repeatedly protested the Obama administration’s use of waivers as an end-run around Congress. But education officials in the states that received waivers expressed relief from the pressure of the looming 2014 deadline. Also, in the article it says that “In October 2009, the results of the most important nationwide math test — The National Assessment of Educational Progress — showed that student achievement grew faster during the years before...
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