Big George Speaks

This letter to the San Francisco Chronicle should lay to rest any misconceptions about where George Miller is on No Child Left Behind:

Editor — The No Child Left Behind law did not set “federal standards” for education, as you asserted in the editorial, “Test confusion” (March 17). The law requires each state to set its own standards for ensuring that all children are able to read and do math at grade level by the 2013-14 school year.

California set its standard so low this year using the state discretion allowed under No Child Left Behind that only one-quarter of students would be required to perform reading and math at grade level.

California’s earlier standard, known as the Academic Performance Index, is even less ambitious, which is why it’s far easier for schools to meet the modest goals of that state standard. I doubt many parents would be satisfied with a school where 75 percent of students cannot do basic reading and math at their grade level.

If parents are confused by two systems, the solution is simple: They should reject the old system, the Academic Performance Index, which allows schools to be considered as doing their job successfully even when most students never learn to read or do math at grade level.

That’s why we needed No Child Left Behind in the first place, and why it’s time for proponents of the state standard to shift their time and resources away from fighting for the status quo and toward raising achievement for all of California’s children.

House Committee on
Education and the Workforce
Washington, D.C.

Thanks to reader AF for the heads-up.

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