Pedro Noguera, my colleague at New York University, took my place as blogging partner with Deborah Meier at “Bridging Differences.”

In his latest column, Pedro says that it is not enough to recognize that No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have failed. It is necessary to shape a new agenda.

Pedro offers these three elements to a new agenda.

1. “The federal government should call for the creation of a comprehensive support systems around schools in low-income communities to address issues such as safety, health, nutrition, and counseling. This should include the expansion of preschool and after-school programs and extended learning opportunities during the summer.” Since the federal government is unlikely to fund what is needed, states and localities should develop public-private partnerships to make it happen.

2) “The federal government must support a new approach to assessment that focuses on concrete evidence of academic performance—writing, reading, mathematical problem-solving—and moves away from using standardized tests to measure and rank students, teachers, and schools.”.

3) “The federal government needs to call upon the states and school districts to undertake careful evaluations of struggling schools to determine why they are failing to meet the needs of the students they serve before prescribing what should be changed. Instead of simply closing troubled schools such a strategy would require a greater focus on enrollment patterns (i.e. have we concentrated too many “high-needs” students in a school?) and ensuring that schools have the capacity to meet the needs of the students they serve rather than merely judging them under the current accountability systems.”

I heartily agree with Pedro’s diagnosis. If children are not healthy, if they are hungry, their ability to learn is negatively affected. The value of preschool and after-school programs is well-established. In state after state, these programs are being cut, while testing is expanded. I would go even further, as I do in my book, and say that class-size reduction must be part of the new vision, especially where the children with the greatest needs are enrolled.

The problem here is that we can’t get federal or state policymakers to change course unless they recognize that the present course–the strategy of high-stakes testing, accountability, choice, and school closings–has failed. I note that Pedro does not mention the Common Core standards, which has now become the linchpin of federal school reform.

Going forward, I think, requires that we persuade President Obama that Race to the Top is not working and must be replaced by a new vision. Pedro has well described the outlines of that vision.

But we can’t assume that the President will change course until he recognizes that four more years of the Bush NCLB strategy won’t help our children or improve their education. Twelve years is enough. It’s time to think anew.