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Mar 15

Obama Outlines Overhaul to No Child Left Behind

Obama Outlines Overhaul to No Child Left Behind

President Obama announced he will be sending Congress a plan to reform the country’s education program by doing away with some of the main aspects of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law. While Obama’s proposal wouldn’t entirely get rid of what was one of his predecessor’s hallmark domestic initiatives, it does put forward many key changes that could dramatically change how the federal government interacts with the country’s 98,000 public elementary and high schools. Essentially, the administration’s approach to education involves setting more stringent standards for schools but at the same time implementing changes in the ways the No Child Left Behind Law measures progress. Although the Bush-era law has been praised for shining the spotlight on achievement gaps in the nation’s schools, it has been harshly criticized for pushing states to decrease standards and focus on teaching to the test on a few subjects rather than focusing on an overall student experience. In addition to being tested in reading and math, the president’s proposal would allow to test other subjects in order to measure progress. It would also place an increased emphasis on individual students’ academic growth and count other factors besides test scores when judging how schools are doing. Rather than require that all American students be proficient in reading and math, the new plan would call on all high-school graduates to be ready for college and a career. Democrats generally praised the initiative but teacher unions weren’t very happy. The president of the American Federation of Teachers criticized the plan, saying that it “places 100 percent of the responsibility on teachers and gives them zero percent of the authority.”

Read original story in The New York Times | Sunday, March 14, 2010

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