BOSTON, MA - The day after Education Secretary Arne Duncan admitted that "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) sets nearly all schools up for failure, the Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA) today sent Congress recommendations to replace the controversial “No Child Left Behind” law with federal policies that “will strengthen public schools, improve learning, and enhance equity.” The plan calls for major changes in assessment, accountability, capacity building, and opportunity to learn. FEA carries forward the Joint Organizational Statement on NLCB, signed by 153 education, civil rights, religious, disability, parent, civic and labor organizations. According to FEA, its plan establishes “a reasonable federal role in educational policy instead of federal mandates that are too often overly prescriptive and fail to help schools reach desired educational and societal goals.” Instead, it “ensures that schools have the capacity to help all children achieve success.” Among the specific FEA proposals:
- Reduce the amount of mandated testing (e.g., return to previous federal requirement of once each in elementary, middle and high schools), thus aligning the U.S. with the practices of most nations in which fewer but better assessments produce superior results.
- Support development of state and local assessment systems that include classroom-based evidence as part of public reporting and accountability, and for improving teaching and learning.
- Require states to use multiple sources of evidence of various types (“multiple measures”) in evaluating students, schools and educators, and in constructing any growth/improvement/value-added approaches. - Eliminate “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) requirements and sanctions, but continue reporting important data disaggregated by demographic group. - Use both multiple sources of evidence (comprehensive indicators) and periodic reviews of schools and districts by qualified state teams in evaluating and recommending interventions in and changes to schools or districts - Allow a broad, flexible range of “turnaround” options. Use indicators and reviews to tailor change actions to schools’ needs. Build improvement plans from elements demonstrated to be essential to school improvement, such as collaborative professional development, strong leadership, parent involvement, support for families to help their children’s learning, and rich, challenging curriculum. - Hold schools and districts accountable through monitoring and appropriate public reporting to ensure consistent, successful efforts to fulfill improvement plans.
- Support states in developing comprehensive indicator systems on the distribution of resources important to schooling. Compile data on out-of-school indicators such as poverty, health care, unemployment and student/family mobility rates. Require states to consider this evidence in evaluating student outcomes and schools, and to develop strategies to overcome inequities. - Provide increased access to opportunity through early learning and high quality preschool; work with states to ensure adequate school facilities, libraries, tools, and services as well as a full range of professional staff; and promote school discipline policies that ensure climates conducive to learning.
FEA Mission Statement - The Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA) promotes positive changes to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and related federal law and policy, aimed at closing the achievement gaps and improving achievement for all students. To accomplish this goal, FEA works to further develop and then enact in the next reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act legislative changes based on the Joint Organizational Statement on No Child Left Behind, initially issued in October 2004.