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Monday, August 02, 2010
Changing NCLB and Race to the Top
July 28, 2010
MEET WITH YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATORS IN AUGUST TO OVERHAUL "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND"
For the past several months, Congressional committees have been quietly working to reauthorize federal requirements that mandate massive over-testing and the misuse of tests for major decisions about schools. As you know, the so-called "No Child Left Behind" law, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) resulted in dumbed-down curriculum with schools becoming test prep programs but little progress in improving student learning or narrowing achievement gaps.
Your elected Senators and Representative must hear your voice NOW if we are to stop plans to make federal law worse and win positive benefits for our nation's children and their schools.
Congress will be in recess during most of August and the first half of September. Many members will be in their districts running for re-election and meeting with constituents. This is a critical time for supporters of assessment reform to visit with their Representatives and Senators.
The easiest way to do this is go to the website of your Representative or Senator, find the location(s) of their local offices, and call to set up an appointment. Push hard to meet with the elected official, not just staff.
- To find the name of your Rep., go to: http://www.votesmart.org. Enter your ZIP + 4 Code to get the most accurate information.
It is best to go as a small group, with each person prepared to focus on one or two points. Your delegation could include local educators, parents, civil rights leaders and community activists. Bring selected materials to hand out. FairTest recommends that you focus on the recommendations of the Forum on Educational Accountability. Prepare ahead of time to discuss the following points:
1. Provide for states to develop a three part assessment and evaluation systemcomprised of local and classroom-based assessments; limited large-scale, state-wide testing (e.g., once each elementary, middle, secondary); and a statewide school quality review.
2. Reject proposed requirements to evaluate teachers based on their student's standardized test scores.
3. Support approaches to improving schools that are backed by research and evidence; reject "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) and Duncan's "turnaround" proposals.
-see also FEA's report Redefining Accountability.
4. Fully fund ESEA Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B (IDEA); reject the use of Duncans' proposed competitive grants.
-see also FEA's Empowering Schools and Improving Learning
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