Monday, September 10, 2007

Congress Moving Too Fast Towards NCLB Reauth, says AFT President

"The American Federation of Teachers has listened for years to our members and others tell us what they think of the No Child Left Behind Act. In more than five years, not a single parent, educator or student has demanded that Congress rush a revised bill through the reauthorization process without taking appropriate steps to get it right. Nevertheless, that is exactly what the U.S. House of Representatives is poised to do.

The House education committee is rushing forward at reckless speed, and, if this keeps up, the result is going to be a sloppy law that is worse than the current law. It is clear from the just-released discussion draft that lawmakers have a lot of work to do before anyone can say they have gotten it right.

AFT members have had five and a half years of experience with the No Child Left Behind Act. During that time, good schools have been stigmatized by the law's unfair and unscientific "adequate yearly progress" measure. Teachers have faced increasing pressure to teach to the test, and students have learned less history, science, art and music. Struggling schools have received punitive sanctions instead of needed help. Tens of millions of dollars in No Child Left Behind funds have gone to private tutoring companies with unqualified employees and no reliable data that demonstrates they are effective.

Our students deserve a law that is carefully considered. The proposed timetable will make it impossible for lawmakers, most of whom are just seeing the language for the first time, to ensure that what is done in Washington makes sense in our nation's classrooms.

Two years ago, the AFT launched our "Let's Get It Right" campaign to make sure that NCLB's reauthorization would be done the right way, with real input from teachers, parents, and others who care about our students and their education. Last year, our members and the entire labor movement spent countless hours to help elect and re-elect representatives we thought respected the parents and teachers who say Congress needs to fix this law.

We hope those members will take the time to get it right—and not just put a check mark next to a bad bill and say, "Done."

-President Ed McElroy

No comments:


Locations of visitors to this page