NCLB moratorium bill advances in D.C.

A moratorium on future sanctions and interventions of the No Child Left Behind Act is being proposed by two Washington, D.C. congressmen and supported by national education organizations.

Reps. Sam Graves, R-Mo., and Tim Walz, D-Minn., are inviting co-sponsorship of the “No Child Left Behind Recess Until Reauthorization Act.” The act is currently supported by the American Association of School Administrators, National Education Association and National School Boards Association.

The NCLB recess proposal aims to “freeze-in-place” the sanctions imposed on schools that fail to meet federal Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks until the full reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The bill would not excuse current Program Improvement schools from incentives to meet AYP. However, schools that don’t meet future AYP would not be subject to escalating sanctions.

“This is exactly what ACSA requested in April 2008 when we visited Washington, D.C., where we shared our call for an NCLB moratorium,” said ACSA Legislative Advocate Sherry Skelly Griffith.

Griffith has led several ACSA pilgrimages to Washington in efforts to show California’s accountability system is rigorous and working, and how some aspects of NCLB undermine those efforts.

ACSA has stated that failure to reform ESEA has allowed flaws in NCLB to undermine the nation’s trust in the public school system and distracts educators from fully focusing on those who truly need the most support. Instead, the structure of NCLB has created excessive federal bureaucracy and a narrowing of the curriculum.

“Until Congress and the new president can reach consensus on changes to ESEA, the Association of California School Administrators calls on Congress to enact a two-year moratorium on all punitive aspects of NCLB,” ACSA has testified. “It is essential schools and school districts continue to improve without being required to implement new unfunded mandates or face punitive sanctions.

“This will allow the new president and Congress to truly fix the problems, take the best of what we have learned and, in a bipartisan fashion, reauthorize ESEA.”

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