Veteran educator Elliot Self says it is long past time to revise No Child Left Behind, and he urges everyone to make their voices heard.

My first recommendation to Congress would be to restore the original name of this landmark 1965 legislation, whose primary purpose was equity for poor children and districts, not accountability: the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), not President Bush’s colorful NCLB.

Self offers nine recommendations in this article. The balance of the article explains each recommendations.

“I believe that we need a new National policy that supports a 21st century education for our children. I am suggesting nine broad changes to the law that would help schools and teachers across the country better meet the needs of diverse students and schools in a complex 21st century world. The recommendations suggest a very different type of law that, instead of a set of top down mandates, emphasizes collaborative working relationships with states, schools and districts and local flexibility, creativity and innovation. They suggest that NCLB should be focused around a 21st century education mission statement and set of goals and should support the development of high quality standards that make significant learning possible.

“The recommendations promote a broader view of accountability and assessment policies and practices, emphasize the development of a rigorous, expansive, high quality curriculum and school programs, and promote the use of powerful instructional strategies. They are designed to address the deep-seated problems with the current law.

Self’s nine recommendations are the following:

“Create a law designed to encourage and guide states, districts and schools to develop 21st century schools, rather than coerce them into submission.

Create a 21st century education mission and vision statement to focus the law.

Encourage the development of high quality state standards.

Support the development of curricular programs that are consistent with high quality standards.

Reduce the amount of standardized testing and encourage the use of multiple types of assessments to measure success and progress.

Encourage districts and schools to develop and implement benchmark and graduation projects.

Encourage districts to provide a variety of elective courses and comprehensive extra-curricular activities and programs.

Encourage professional development that supports the use of powerful instructional strategies.

Create the means for greater collaboration and sharing among states, districts and schools.”

What are your recommendations for the federal role?