No Child Left Behind is “tired” and “prescriptive,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a speech yesterday. However, federal education law should include annual tests, Duncan said at a Washington, D.C. elementary school.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (aka No Child Left Behind) is up for reauthorization, notes NPR. Duncan said he’d like to start over with a new bill, but retain annual testing.
In his speech, Duncan invoked famous phrases used by both President Obama and former President George W. Bush, the latter of whom introduced No Child Left Behind more than 13 years ago.
“This country can’t afford to replace ‘the fierce urgency of now’ with the soft bigotry of, ‘It’s optional,’ ” he said.
Duncan came out against “redundant” and “unnecessary” tests.
Brookings makes The Case for Annual Testing that tracks growth in student achievement, while eliminating most NCLB standards and accountability provisions.
Hill Republicans will decide what happens, writes Rick Hess in his ESEA predictions on Pundicity. They see Duncan as “obdurate, unwilling to listen, and remarkably disinterested in what the federal government shouldn’t do or what it can’t do well.” So Sen. Lamar Alexander will work with Democratic senators, but Duncan could be out of the negotiations.