Alliance Responds to Draft Legislation to Revise No Child Left Behind
October 12, 2011 08:50 pm
On October 11, U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), the chairman and top Republican, respectively, of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) Committee, released draft legislation to revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as No Child Left Behind.
“Patience is no virtue in education reform, and the nation’s students have waited long enough for more effective education policy coming from Washington,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, in response to the draft legislation. “With this bill, they are one step closer to getting it.”
Wise said the draft legislation is “especially important” for the nation’s high schools, which he said had been “overlooked” by federal education policy for far too long. Specifically, Wise noted the legislation would concentrate improvement efforts on high schools with graduation rates below 60 percent, establish a common, accurate calculation of graduation rates, and support comprehensive efforts by states to strengthen the literacy skills of all students, including young people in high school.
At the same time, however, Wise said policymakers should amend the legislation so it would hold all schools–not just the bottom 5 percent–accountable for student success. “Nearly 200,000 students of color drop out of high schools with estimated graduation rates above 60 percent,” Wise said. “Federal law should help to ensure that these students have the opportunity to attend high-quality schools as well.”