Education Minnesota applauds changes to ‘No Child Left Behind’

“Change is welcome and long overdue,” Dooher said. “But it needs to be the right kind of change.”

Education Minnesota, which represents 70,000 teachers and other educators across the state, agrees with the principle that students should be college- or career-ready when they leave high school, Dooher said. “We must close the achievement gap in our schools. The way to do that is get class sizes down and get more resources into the classroom where they can help students. Scarce resources should not be diverted into more testing, questionable rating systems and bureaucracy at the expense of great teaching,” he said.

Educators and school officials have long complained the eight-year-old NCLB law is an oversimplified, inaccurate and unrealistic measure of student and school performance. The law set a year 2014 deadline for 100 percent of a school’s students to meet certain test score standards. If even one student didn’t meet the standard, the entire school would be labeled a failure.

“Eventually, every school in America would have been considered a failure under NCLB,” Dooher said.

Under Obama’s proposed changes, the 2014 deadline for bringing every child to academic proficiency reportedly will be eliminated. It will be replaced with a method of judging students, schools and teachers that will apparently be broader and potentially more realistic. However, details of that measurement method have yet to be determined, and Congress must approve any changes in the law.

“Let’s not repeat the mistakes of NCLB, with over-reaching and over-regulation by the federal government,” Dooher said. “Politicians in Washington, D.C. have no idea how to teach children in Minnesota.”

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