Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Reacts to Fifth Anniversary of No Child Left Behind
Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, issued the following statement in response to the fifth anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act (January 8):
“This is a watershed year for American education, as Congress takes up renewal of No Child Left Behind, which set unprecedented accountability measures as conditions for targeted federal dollars to improve educational outcomes for all our students.
“Like any five-year-old, this one shows great promise, but still has significant direction and nurturing before it realizes its potential.
“NCLB is today’s version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which LBJ first signed into law in 1965. Both have been catalysts for much change and some improvement, but their focus has been largely on the early grades. Federal support targeting America’s younger disadvantaged students may have seemed sufficient over 40 years ago, because, in theory, it was giving children an educational start that would sustain them as they got older. After all, Americans could still find jobs paying a good living wage with only a high school diploma. Now, 90 percent of the fastest growing jobs require at least some postsecondary education. But one-third of our high school students are dropping out of high school and another third are graduating without the skills and knowledge to succeed in the 21st century.
“What is called for in this day and age is steady, ongoing support that meets the needs of each individual student throughout the educational lifespan. NCLB does not currently address the crisis in America’s high schools, nor did its predecessors. Congress has the opportunity this year to correct this oversight, with specific policies, accompanied by dedicated funding, that will support America’s struggling high schools and their deserving students. We need to move from no child left behind to every child a graduate.”
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The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education and success in life.
For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit: www.all4ed.com.