Revamping No Child Left Behind could mean that Stamford and other school districts in Connecticut would not be labeled “in need of improvement,” President Barack Obama said Monday. The president is calling on Congress to “fix” the law by the beginning of the next school year.
“We need to make sure we’re graduating students who are ready for college and a career,” the president said in remarks at a Virginia middle school. “In the 21st century, it’s not enough to leave no child behind. We need to help every child get ahead. We need to get every child on a path to academic excellence.”
Obama highlighted several areas where No Child Left Behind is lacking and suggested specific remedies. Included among the president’s concerns about the law are that it lowers academic standards to meet annual goals, narrows curricula to focus primarily on reading and math, adheres to federal “one size fits all” solutions and puts “failing” labels on schools that are doing well.
The latter is of particular concern for Stamford, which was among 37 Connecticut school districts that did not meet progress standards under No Child Left Behind last year and were labeled “in need of improvement.”
In a speech at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Va., Monday, Obama said such labels might be misleading.
“According to new estimates, under the system No Child Left Behind put in place more than 80 percent of our schools may be labeled as failing -- 80 percent of our schools. Four out of five schools will be labeled as failing,” said the president. “That’s an astonishing number. And our impulse is to either be outraged that the numbers are so high, or skeptical that they’re even true. And let’s face it, skepticism is somewhat justified. We know that four out of five schools in this country aren’t failing. So what we’re doing to measure success and failure is out of line.”
Obama noted that the list of failing schools “includes schools that are actually making extraordinary progress” – such as the one at which he was speaking.
Obama’s remedies for No Child Left Behind include investing in state and local efforts to develop well-rounded curricula and doubling the federal investment to help schools engage families in the education process, among other solutions.
Do you think a change in the No Child Left Behind law is needed to more accurately reflect the quality of Stamford’s public schools?