Don’t Look Back

Ed Week reports on a variety of proposals being floated that put more specifics on calls to “reform” or “fix” No Child Left Behind. Some parts of the proposals–like finding ways to incorporate value-added information into AYP–aren’t necessarily bad (though the do skirt some of the technical issues involved here). Others, like ditching disaggregated accountability, would allow schools to continue to leave poor and minority children behind. Overall, the discussion around these issues seems to be afflicted with a severe case of amnesia. Lots of people are calling for giving states more flexibility, particularly around AYP. But that’s basically what the status quo was before NCLB (remember, AYP and school improvement pre-date NCLB from the 1994 ESEA reauthorization), and those who paid attention to how the states used flexibility then (for example, the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights) are justified in being skeptical as to how poor and minority kids would be served under a looser AYP definition.

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