NCLB Updates

NCLB was scheduled for Congressional reauthorization in 2007—but was delayed.

Use these resources to learn more about what issues need to be addressed and what changes should be made, or to form your own opinion about whether or not the law should be scrapped in its entirety:


Kline tackling NCLB renewal in piecemeal fashion – Wednesday morning, Rep. John Kline gaveled open the first vote on the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act. You might think that for the Minnesota Republican whose education policy mantra has been “local, local, local,” marking up a bill that would curtail federal oversight of school finances would be a triumphant moment. The bill did pass out of the House committee on a party-line vote, but it was hardly the kind of lock-step victory many envisioned when Kline was selected as chair of the U.S House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee last fall, MinnPost, July 14, 2011.

School officials: Greater local control over federal funds certainly OK – “No strings attached” is a common enough phrase, but it’s one that almost never applies to federal dollars. A Minnesotan U.S. representative is trying to change that with a new bill that’s part of the No Child Left Behind law overhaul. Republican Rep. John Kline is pushing the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act. If passed, the act would allow public schools to take federal education dollars allocated for one thing and spend them on something else, Fergus Falls Journal, July 11, 2011.

Minn. Rep. Kline questions No Child Left Behind waiver – The chairman of the House education committee questioned on Thursday the legality of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s plan to grant waivers to the No Child Left Behind law in exchange for states embracing the department’s ideas on education reform, Minnesota Public Radio, June 23, 2011.

No Education Agenda Left Behind Becomes Obama Legal Hurdle – When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he pledged to “fix” the No Child Left Behind federal education law and to promote rigorous standards, merit pay and policies that made it easier to remove low-performing teachers. As Obama — who sold himself as a politician who could forge bipartisan compromise — seeks re-election next year, Congressional gridlock has halted his plan to change No Child Left Behind. While more than 40 states have signed onto parts of the rest of his agenda, state budget cuts threaten to undermine districts’ efforts to carry it out, Bloomberg, June 21, 2011.

Sen. John Kline sponsors ‘No Child’ reform bill – The next step in a proposed overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law has been introduced in the U.S. House, and it’s co-sponsored by Rep. John Kline, R-Minn, Pioneer Press, June 16, 2011.

Education Cure Just as Bad – Progressives and conservatives agree that No Child Left Behind, our nation’s education policy, needs to go. However, conservative U.S. House leadership—specifically Minnesota Representative John Kline, chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee—is advocating a tired marketplace approach to education reform. It includes all of the free market usuals—misplaced priorities such as support for more charter schools, performance pay, and “redefined” accountability measures, Minnesota 2020, June 15, 2011.

Chairman Kline warns about Duncan’s education reform plan – The chairman of the U.S. House education committee is warning that Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s plan to issue more temporary waivers to the requirements of the No Child Left Behind law could backfire, Grand Forks Herald, June 13, 2011.

Minnesota might get a break on ‘No Child’ standards – More Minnesota schools may get a pass on some mandates of the No Child Left Behind law, Star Tribune, June 13, 2011.

Duncan working on ‘plan B’ in case Congress doesn’t change federal No Child Left Behind law – Frustrated by what he called a “slow motion train wreck” for U.S. schools, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he will give schools relief from federal mandates under the No Child Left Behind law if Congress drags its feet on the law’s long-awaited overhaul and reauthorization. That could mean everything from granting waivers on test score requirements to flexibility on how schools spend federal funding, though Duncan offered few details because he said the department is just beginning to work on its plan, Star Tribune, June 11, 2011.

Montevideo principal discusses education reform with feds – When U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Dayton’s Bluff Elementary School in St. Paul with U.S. Sen. Al Franken May 31, he was looking for ways to reform the widely criticized No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Duncan’s and Franken’s visit was followed by a panel discussion involving educators and a question-and-answer session on education. There were 165 people in the audience. Among the panelists was Montevideo Middle School Principal Brenda Vatthauer, who was invited by Franken’s office to participate, Montevideo American-News, June 9, 2011.

Kline’s education reform vision: less federal cash, more school autonomy – While Congress may seem locked in endless budget battles, lawmakers from both parties are trying to overhaul education laws, including No Child Left Behind. Minnesota Rep. John Kline is in charge of that effort for House Republicans, Minnesota Public Radio, June 6, 2011.

During St. Paul visit, U.S. education chief calls for overhaul of ‘No Child Left Behind’ law – Calling it an “impediment” to improving school performance, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged Congress to fast-track an overhaul of the No Child Left Behind law in a visit Tuesday to St. Paul, Pioneer Press, May 31, 2011.

In Minn., US education secretary calls on Congress to speed up No Child Left Behind overhaul – U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called on Congress to move faster on an overhaul to the No Child Left Behind elementary education law during a visit Tuesday to high-achieving school in a low-income St. Paul neighborhood, Star Tribune, May 31, 2011.

In St. Paul, Duncan calls for faster work on ‘No Child’ fix – U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan used a trip to Minnesota Tuesday to ramp up his criticism of Congress for not overhauling the nation’s main education law, Minnesota Public Radio, May 31, 2011.

No Child Left Behind fix lagging in Congress – The long-awaited overhaul of the 9-year-old No Child Left Behind law has begun in the House with the first in a series of targeted bills, but a bipartisan, comprehensive reform of the nation’s most important education law still appears far from the finish line, Brainerd Dispatch, May 20, 2011.

Lakeville / Schools chief will testify before Congress – Views on No Child Left Behind sought. Lakeville’s departing superintendent will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to offer input at a congressional education reform hearing. Thursday’s hearing is one in a series planned by U.S. Rep. John Kline, the Lakeville Republican and chairman of the powerful House Education and Labor Committee, Pioneer Press, April 6, 2011.

Kline, Obama face off on fixing education law – Rep. John Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, wants to reform No Child Left Behind bit by bit, while the president seeks broad bill, Star Tribune, April 3, 2011.

Obama Administration’s No Child Left Behind proposal (Audio) – The Obama administration wants to overhaul the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and is calling for broad changes in how schools are judged to be succeeding or failing. Opponents of NCLB say the changes would still leave the worst parts of the legislation intact, MPR Midmorning, March 28, 2011.

FACT CHECK: Obama says 4 of 5 schools could be ‘failing’ under ‘No Child’ law — is that right? – President Barack Obama declared this week that four of five public schools could be labeled as “failing” this year under the No Child Left Behind Act if Congress does not take action to rewrite the law. “That’s an astonishing number,” he said Monday at a Virginia middle school. “We know that four out of five schools in this country aren’t failing,” Star Tribune, March 16, 2011

Obama’s No Child Left Behind revise: a little more flexibility – The education blueprint that President Barack Obama sent to Congress on Monday retains the structure and spirit of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Law – annual testing and data-driven accountability – but adds resources and flexibility to meet new goals, MinnPost, March 16, 2011.

More than three-fourths of schools could be labeled ‘failing’ under No Child Left Behind – The number of schools labeled as “failing” under the nation’s No Child Left Behind Act could skyrocket dramatically this year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday, Star Tribune, March 9, 2011.

White House aims to revamp education law before next school year, faces GOP House challenge – The Obama administration set a goal Thursday of revamping the federal No Child Left Behind education law before students start the next school year in the fall, a timeframe likely to clash with the priorities of congressional Republicans, Star Tribune, February 17, 2011.

Education secretary: NCLB not the right direction – The annual adequate yearly progress reports could be a thing of the past for U.S. public schools, West Central Tribune, January 27, 2011.

Democrats, Republicans in Senate join Obama in calling for rewrite of No Child Left Behind – A bipartisan group of U.S. senators pledged Wednesday to work together to revamp the federal No Child Left Behind education law, a day after President Barack Obama called on lawmakers in his State of the Union address to speed up overhaul of the Bush-era policy. Senate education committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he hopes to have a bill to Obama by the end of the summer, Star Tribune, January 26, 2011.

Arne Duncan: The next steps in school reform – With a new Congress set to begin, key members on both sides of the aisle are poised to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In fact, the work has been under way for much of the past year, and few areas are more suited for bipartisan action than education reform, Pioneer Press, January 4, 2011.

Kline looks to scale down federal education department – Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., said Thursday that he will look to scale down the federal Department of Education when he takes over the House committee that oversees it, Minnesota Public Radio, November 18, 2010.

More confusion over federal NCLB – Reform of the schools law can’t come soon enough, Star Tribune, August 16, 2010.

Bipartisan hope in education reform – Rep. John Kline is a key player in crafting a bill. At first blush, reports from initial congressional meetings about reauthorizing federal education policies sounded promising. House and Senate committee members agreed that No Child Left Behind laws should change and that the reform can best be accomplished though bipartisanship, Star Tribune, June 13, 2010.

Rep. Kline is key force in bipartisan push to change No Child Left Behind law – The Minnesota Republican has emerged as the GOP’s point man in the House for crafting education reform, Star Tribune, June 2, 2010.

What’s wrong with Race to the Top, and what’s right with Minnesota schools – Minnesota, and the country for that matter, needs to focus on a “pace-setting commitment to education,” not “education reform” as the term is currently being used. President Obama and Secretary Duncan’s Race to the Top program is every bit as bad for public education as President Bush’s No Child Left Behind, Twin Cities Daily Planet, April 10, 2010.

Teachers Must Be On Board for Education Plan to Succeed – In announcing his recent education overhaul, President Obama is making an attempt to whack away at No Child Left Behind’s kudzu-like strangulation of America’s education system. In Minnesota alone, half of all schools have been found deficient under NCLB and face sanctions of various severity, Minnesota 2020, April 5, 2010.

Franken, Kline ask education secretary about No Child Left Behind – Minnesota lawmakers on both sides the aisle expressed their support today for the Obama administration’s blueprint to remake No Child Left Behind, Star Tribune, March 17, 2010.

A new course for schools, students – Proposed changes to No Child Left Behind are welcome, Star Tribune, March 15, 2010.

Obama Calls for Major Change in Education Law – The Obama administration on Saturday called for a broad overhaul of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, proposing to reshape divisive provisions that encouraged instructors to teach to tests, narrowed the curriculum, and labeled one in three American schools as failing, New York Times, March 13, 2010.

Teacher contracts support reforms in worst schools – PHILADELPHIA – Even in a school system known for its academic troubles, the numbers at Vaux High School are jaw-dropping: More than 90 percent of 11th-graders tested last year could not read or do math at grade level…. Minnesota expects to remake 34 schools by the time students return next fall — more than the federal No Child Left Behind legislation did in the state since it was enacted in 2001, Star Tribune, February 23, 2010.

Minnesota Should Be Ready to Walk Away from the New NCLB – The “No Child Left Behind” law is a failure in almost every respect. To its credit, it has called attention to the achievement gap. That’s about the only good thing that can be said about the program – and even that comes with the caveat that NCLB did little to fix the problem, Minnesota 2020, February 16, 2010.

Bridging the achievement gap – As education secretary, Rod Paige promoted No Child Left Behind as the best way to reduce the achievement gap between black and white students. In his new book, Paige argues the persistent gap is the most important civil rights issue, MPR Midmorning, February 8, 2010.

Changes face No Child Left Behind; details still murky – This year, the Obama administration will revamp No Child Left Behind, President Bush’s blueprint for education policy, but Minnesota is still waiting to see how it could affect education in the state, Minnesota Public Radio, February 2, 2010.

Revision possible for ‘No Child’ law – The Obama administration is proposing a sweeping overhaul of President George W. Bush’s signature education law, No Child Left Behind, and will call for broad changes in how schools are judged, as well as for the elimination of the law’s 2014 deadline for bringing every American child to academic proficiency, Pioneer Press, February 1, 2010.

‘No Child Left Behind’ on table for big rewrite – White House wants to change education benchmarks, maintain push for achievement, Star Tribune, January 31, 2010.

Learn more about NCLB in Minnesota.


Federal Policy, ESEA Reauthorization, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline – In the nine years since Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), startling growth has occurred in what is often described as the “School-to-Prison Pipeline” – the use of educational policies and practices that have the effect of pushing students, especially students of color and students with disabilities, out of schools and toward the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The swelling of the pipeline has many causes. But as Congress works to reauthorize the ESEA, it is essential to examine how NCLB itself has contributed to the pipeline phenomenon. A joint position paper of Advancement Project, Education Law Center – PA, FairTest, The Forum for Education and Democracy, Juvenile Law Center, and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., March 2011 (Revised).

Parents spell out detailed school reform blueprint – A national grassroots organization called Parents Across America — a leading group in a young, growing protest movement against test-based school reform — just released its own blueprint for the rewriting of No Child Left Behind. If only President Obama would read it (Blueprint), Washington Post, April 22, 2011.

March 2010 – A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – A a framework to guide our deliberations and shared work – with parents, students, educators, business and community leaders, elected officials, and other partners – to strengthen America’s public education system, U.S. Department of Education (Critical review, National Education Policy Center).

Key priorities:
(1) College- and Career-Ready Students
(2) Great Teachers and Leaders in Every School
(3) Equity and Opportunity for All Students
(4) Raise the Bar and Reward Excellence
(5) Promote Innovation and Continuous Improvement

Obama Looks To Overhaul ‘No Child Left Behind’ (Audio) – The Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind Act ushered in sweeping changes to America’s education system, but many argue it emphasizes testing over learning. NPR’s Larry Abramson and Claudio Sanchez explain Obama’s proposed education overhaul and assess his new Race to the Top initiative, NPR, February 2, 2010.

January 2010 – College- and Career-Ready: Using Outcomes Data to Hold High Schools Accountable for School Success – NCLB accountability system often labels schools as failing while ignoring actual evidence of college success. Schools labeled as failing are more likely to be subject to reforms and overhauls, even as their students go off to college and succeed. As federal lawmakers consider reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, they have the opportunity to use the dividends of that investment to solve one of the most vexing problems in K–12 policy: how to hold high schools accountable for preparing students to succeed in college and careers, Education Sector.

Parents Across America demand to be heard – Last spring, a new grassroots organization called Parents Across America wrote a letter to President Obama, pointing out how parents had been left out of the education discussion at the national level. From the administration’s “Race to the Top” proposals to their proposed “Blueprint” for revising NCLB, parent input has been either dismissed or ignored. We wrote an article for Education Week, called Shutting Out Parents, about how this conscious disregard of the parent perspective was unacceptable, and must be reversed. We explained how we wanted to see a quite different set of reforms, focusing on strengthening neighborhood schools rather than closing them down, by providing smaller classes, more parent involvement, and a well-rounded curriculum. Moreover, we pointed out how these reforms are research-based, rather than the highly experimental policies of privatization and test-based accountability currently promoted by this administration, Huffington Post, September 4, 2010.

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