Archives for category: Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

Valerie Strauss posted this article that I wrote on her Washington Post site “The Answer Sheet.” The tests now required by federal law are worthless. The results are reported too late to matter. The reports to teachers do not tell them what students do or do not know. The tests tell students whether they did well or poorly on a test they took six months ago. They do not measure “learning loss.”

Diane Ravitch is a former assistant secretary of education and historian. For more than a decade, she has been a leading advocate for America’s public education system and a critic of the modern “accountability” movement that has based school improvement measures in large part on high-stakes standardized tests.


In her influential 2010 book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” Ravitch explained why she dropped her support for No Child Left Behind, the chief education initiative of President George W. Bush, and for standardized test-based school “reform.”


Ravitch worked from 1991 to 1993 as assistant secretary in charge of research and improvement in the Education Department of President George H.W. Bush, and she served as counselor to then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander, who had just left the Senate where he had served as chairman of the Senate Education Committee. She was at the White House as part of a select group when George W. Bush first outlined No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a moment that at the time she said made her “excited and optimistic” about the future of public education.


But her opinion changed as NCLB was implemented and she researched its effects on teaching and learning. She found that the NCLB mandate for schools to give high-stakes annual standardized tests in math and English language arts led to reduced time — or outright elimination — of classes in science, social studies, the arts and other subjects.


She was a critic of President Barack Obama’s policies and his chief education initiative, Race to the Top, a multibillion-dollar competition in which states (and later districts) could win federal funds by promising to adopt controversial overhauls, including the Common Core State Standards, charter schools and accountability that evaluated teachers by student test scores.


In 2013, she co-founded an advocacy group called the Network for Public Education, a coalition of organizations that oppose privatizing public education and high-stakes standardized testing. She has since then written several other best-selling books and a popular blog focused primarily on education.


She was also appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress, and served for seven years.

In the following post, she provides a historical overview of standardized testing — and takes issue with supporters who say that these exams provide data that helps teachers and students. Instead, she says, they are have no value in the classroom.


The subject has resonance at the moment because the Biden administration must decide soon whether to give states a waiver from the federal annual testing mandate. The Trump administration did so last year after schools abruptly closed when the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the United States, but said it wouldn’t do it again if President Donald Trump won reelection. Trump lost, and now Biden’s Education Department is under increasing pressure to give states permission not to administer the 2021 tests.

By Diane Ravitch


I have been writing about standardized tests for more than 20 years. My 2000 book, “Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform,” included a history of I.Q. testing, which evolved into the standardized tests used in schools and into the Scholastic Aptitude Test, known now simply as the SAT. The psychologists who designed these tests in the early 20th century believed, incorrectly, that you inherited “intelligence” from your family and nothing you might do would change it. The chief virtue of these tests was that they were “standardized,” meaning that everyone took the same ones. The I.Q. test was applied to the screening of recruits for World War I, used to separate the men of high intellect — officer material — and from those of low intellect, who were sent to the front lines.
When the psychologists reviewed the test results, they concluded that white males of northern European origin had the highest I.Q., while non-English-speaking people and Black people had the lowest I.Q. They neglected the fact that northern Black people had higher I.Q. scores than Appalachian White people on the Army’s mental tests. Based on these tests, the psychologists believed, incorrectly, that race and I.Q. were bound together.


One of the psychologists who helped create the wartime I.Q. tests was Carl C. Brigham of Princeton University. He wrote an influential book, called “A Study of American Intelligence,” in 1923, which proclaimed that the “Nordic” race had the highest intelligence and that the increasing numbers of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe were causing a decline in American intelligence.


His findings encouraged Congress to set quotas to limit the immigration of so-called “inferior” national groups from places like Russia, Poland and Italy. Brigham, a faculty member at Princeton, used his knowledge of I.Q. testing to develop the Scholastic Aptitude Test in 1926. Because they could be easily and cheaply scored by machine, the SAT tests eventually replaced the well-known “College Boards,” which were written examinations prepared and graded by teams of high school teachers and college professors.


Standardized testing occasionally made an appearance in American schools in the second half of the 20th century, but the tests were selected and used at the will of state and local school boards. The Scholastic Aptitude Test was important for college admission, especially for the relatively small number of elite colleges. Nonetheless, it was possible to attend an American public school from kindergarten through 12th grade without ever taking a standardized test of academic or mental ability.


This state of affairs began to change after the release of the Reagan administration’s “Nation at Risk” report in 1983. That report claimed that the nation’s public schools were mired in “a rising tide of mediocrity” because they were too easy. Politicians and education leaders became convinced that American education needed higher standards and needed tests to measure the performance of students on higher standards.


President George H.W. Bush convened a national summit of governors in 1989, which proclaimed six national goals for the year 2000 in education, including:


• By the year 2000, United States students will be first in the world in math and science.

• By the year 2000, all students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competence over challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history and geography.


Such goals implied measurement. They implied the introduction of widespread standardized testing.


In 1994, President Bill Clinton introduced his Goals 2000 program, which gave grants to every state to choose their own standards and tests.


In 2001, President George W. Bush put forward his No Child Left Behind legislation, which required every student in grades 3 to 8 to take a standardized test in reading and mathematics every year, as well as one test in high school. Test scores would be used to judge schools and eventually to punish those that failed to make progress toward having every student achieve competency on those tests. The NCLB law proclaimed that by 2014, virtually every student would achieve competency in reading and mathematics. The authors of NCLB knew the goal was impossible to achieve.


When Barack Obama became president, he selected Arne Duncan as secretary of education. The Obama administration embraced the NCLB regime. Its own program — Race to the Top — stiffened the sanctions of NCLB.


Not only would schools that did not get high enough test scores be punished, possibly closed or privatized for failing to meet utopian goals, but teachers would be individually singled out if the students in their classes did not get higher scores every year.
The Bush-Obama approach was recognized as the “bipartisan consensus” in education, built around annual testing, accountability for students, teachers, principals and schools, and competition among schools. Race to the Top encouraged states to authorize charter school legislation and to increase the number of privately managed charters, and to pass legislation that tied teachers’ evaluations to the test scores of their students.


Duncan also promoted the Common Core State Standards, which were underwritten by philanthropist Bill Gates; the U.S. Department of Education could not mandate the Common Core, but it required states to adopt “common national standards” if they wanted to be eligible to compete for a share of the $4.35 billion in federal funding that the department controlled as part of the recovery funds after the Great Recession of 2008-09.


The department was able to subsidize the development of two new national tests aligned to the Common Core, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). At the outset — in 2010 — almost every state signed up for one of the two testing consortia. PARCC had 24 state members; it is now down to two and the District of Columbia. SBAC started with 30 state members; it is down to 17.


Politicians and the general public assume that tests are good because they provide valuable information. They think that the tests are necessary for equity among racial and ethnic groups.


This is wrong.


The tests are a measure, not a remedy.


The tests are administered to students annually in March and early April. Teachers are usually not allowed to see the questions. The test results are returned to the schools in August or September. The students have different teachers by then. Their new teachers see their students’ scores but they are not allowed to know which questions the students got right or wrong.


Thus, the teachers do not learn where the students need extra help or which lessons need to be reviewed.


All they receive is a score, so they learn where students ranked compared to one another and compared to students across the state and the nation.


This is of little value to teachers.


This would be like going to a doctor with a pain in your stomach. The doctor gives you a battery of tests and says she will have the results in six months. When the results are reported, the doctor tells you that you are in the 45th percentile compared to others with a similar pain, but she doesn’t prescribe any medication because the test doesn’t say what caused your pain or where it is situated.


The tests are a boon for the testing corporation. For teachers and students, they are worthless.


Standardized test scores are highly correlated with family income and education. The students from affluent families get the highest scores. Those from poor families get the lowest scores. This is the case on every standardized test, whether it is state, national, international, SAT, or ACT. Sometimes poor kids get high scores, and sometimes kids from wealthy families get low scores, but they are outliers. The standardized tests confer privilege on the already advantaged and stigmatize those who have the least. They are not and will never be, by their very nature, a means to advance equity.


In addition, standardized tests are normed on a bell curve. There will always be a bottom half and a top half. Achievement gaps will never close, because bell curves never close. That is their design. By contrast, anyone of legal age may get a driver’s license if they pass the required tests. Access to driver’s licenses are not based on a bell curve. If they were, about 35 to 40 percent of adults would never get a license to drive.


If you are a parent, you will learn nothing from your child’s test score. You don’t really care how he or she ranks compared to others of her age in the state or in another state. You want to know whether she is keeping up with her assignments, whether she participates in class, whether she understands the work, whether she is enthusiastic about school, how she gets along with her peers. The standardized tests won’t answer any of these questions.


So how can a parent find out what he or she wants to know? Ask your child’s teacher.


Who should write the tests? Teachers should write the tests, based on what they taught in class. They can get instant answers and know precisely what their students understood and what they did not understand. They can hold a conference with Johnny or Maria to go over what they missed in class and help them learn what they need to know.


But how will we know how we are doing as a city or a state or a nation? How will we know about achievement gaps and whether they are getting bigger or smaller?


All of that information is already available in the reports of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), plus much more. Scores are disaggregated by state, gender, race, disability status, poverty status, English-language proficiency, and much more. About 20 cities have volunteered to be assessed, and they get the same information.


As we approach the reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act — the successor law to No Child Left Behind — it is important to know this history and this context. No high-performing nation in the world tests every students in grades 3 to 8 every year.


We can say with certainty that the No Child Left Behind program failed to meet its purpose of leaving no child behind.


We can say with certainty that the Race to the Top program did not succeed at raising the nation’s test scores “to the top.”


We can say with certainty that the Every Student Succeeds Act did not achieve its purpose of assuring that every student would succeed.


For the past 10 years, despite (or perhaps because of) this deluge of intrusive federal programs, scores on the NAEP have been flat. The federal laws and programs have come and gone and have had no impact on test scores, which was their purpose.


It is time to think differently. It is time to relax the heavy hand of federal regulation and to recall the original purposes of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act: to distribute funding to the neediest students and schools; to support the professional training of teachers; and to assure the civil rights of students.


The federal government should not mandate testing or tell schools how to “reform” themselves, because the federal government lacks the knowledge or know-how or experience to reform schools.


At this critical time, as we look beyond the terrible consequences of the pandemic, American schools face a severe teacher shortage. The federal government can help states raise funding to pay professional salaries to professional teachers. It can help pay for high-quality prekindergarten programs. It can underwrite the cost of meals for students and help pay for nurses in every school.


American education will improve when the federal government does what it does best and allows highly qualified teachers and well-resourced schools to do what they do best.


Readers of this blog know that Betsy DeVos decoded, against federal law and precedent, that CARES coronavirus funding should be divided among all students, rich, middle-income, and poor. She stuck to this decision even after her fellow Republican, Senator Lamar Alexander, pointed out that the money was for the neediest students, not all students. Betsy ignored him.

It’s heartening to see that Newsweek referred to this brazen action as “looting.”

If DeVos knew anything about the history of the federal role in education, she would know that the Elementary and a Secondary Education Act of 1965 was passed specifically to fund the schools of the poorest children.

While we chastise looting, let’s chastise billionaire Betsy for looting millions from poor kids in defiance of Congressional intent.

The National Center for Education Statistics released NAEP scores in history and geography, which declined, and in civics, which were flat.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos went into her customary rant against public schools, but the real culprit is a failed federal policy of high-stakes testing narrowly focused on reading and math. If DeVos were able to produce data to demonstrate that scores on the same tests were rising for the same demographic groups in charter schools and voucher schools, she might be able to make an intelligent point, but all she has is her ideological hatred of public schools.

After nearly 20 years of federal policies of high-stakes testing, punitive accountability, and federal funding of school choice, the results are in. The “reforms” mandated by No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the Every Student Succeeds Act, as well as the federally-endorsed (Gates-funded) Common Core, have had no benefit for American students.

Enough!

When the ESSA comes up for reauthorization, it should be revised. The standardized testing mandate should be eliminated. The original name—the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—should replace the fanciful and delusional title (NCLB, ESSA), since we now know that the promise of “no child left behind” was fake, as was the claim that “every student succeeds” by complying with federally mandated testing.

Restore also the original purpose of the act in 1965: EQUITY. That is, financial help for the schools that enroll the poorest children, so they can have small classes, experienced teachers, a full curriculum including the arts and recess, a school nurse, a library and librarian, a psychologist and social worker.

Here is the report from Politico Morning Education:

MANY STUDENTS ARE STRUGGLING’: Average scores for eighth-graders on the Nation’s Report Card declined in U.S. history and geography between 2014 and 2018 while scores in civics remained flat, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The results follow disappointing scores for math and reading released in October.

— “The results provided here indicate that many students are struggling to understand and explain the importance of civic participation, how American government functions, the historical significance of events, and the need to grasp and apply core geographic concepts,” stated Peggy G. Carr, the associate commissioner of assessment at NCES, which runs the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, known as The Nation’s Report Card.

— The digitally based assessments were administered from January to March 2018 to a nationally representative sample of eighth-graders from about 780 schools. The results are available at nationsreportcard.gov. They will be discussed at a livestreamed event, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

— Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in a statement, said “America’s antiquated approach to education is creating a generation of future leaders who will not have a foundational understanding of what makes this country exceptional. We cannot continue to excuse this problem away. Instead, we need to fundamentally rethink education in America

Open the link to find links to the NAEP reports.

No Child Left Behind will be recognized in time as the most colossal failure in federal education policy, whose disastrous effects were amplified by Race to the Top.

Its monomaniacal focus on test scores warped education. RTT just made it worse and left a path of destruction in urban districts.

And the gains were, as a new study reports, modest and diminished over time.

Anyone familiar with Campbell’s Law could have predicted this result. Social scientist Donald T. Campbell wrote:

“The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.”

Campbell also wrote:

“Achievement tests may well be valuable indicators of general school achievement under conditions of normal teaching aimed at general competence. But when test scores become the goal of the teaching process, they both lose their value as indicators of educational status and distort the educational process in undesirable ways. (Similar biases of course surround the use of objective tests in courses or as entrance examinations.)”

Scores on NAEP rose modestly for a few years but went flat in 2015 and again in 2017.

Arne Duncan is traversing the country and TV boasting of his success and asserting that American education is built on lies. He should know. The biggest lie was NCLB. The second biggest lie was Race to the Top. The third biggest lie is ESSA.

The belief that threats and rewards will produce better education is not just a lie. It is stupid.

This is a first for me. I never posted anything from Breitbart, the website of the alt-right. But friends pointed me to this post there, which says that Trump soppoers oppose Michelle Rhee and Eva Moskowitz, because they both supported Common Core. Rhee even included David Coleman, the architect of Common Core, on the board of her “StudentsFirst” group, along with Jason Zimba, lead writer of the Common Core math standards. The most prominent Republican supporter of Common Core was or is Jeb Bush, whose former commissioner of education is on Trump’s short list.

Anti-Common Core activists say they supported Trump because he promised to get rid of Common Core. They prefer Williamson (Bill) Evers, who has a long history of opposing Common Core.

I know Bill Evers. I worked with him as a member of the Koret Task Force on Education at the Hoover Institution. He is a nice guy, not a foaming-at-the-mouth ideologue. He supports school choice and opposes Common Core. He worked in Iraq for the Coalition Provisional Authority as an education advisor. President a George W. Bush named him as an Assistant Secretary of Education. He is a libertarian, less likely to trample local control, and less problematic than some of the other names that have been mentioned.

Trump and his allies don’t seem to know that the federal government can’t get rid of Common Core. It was foisted on the states by Arne Duncan and Race to the Top, but the decision about whether to keep it, revise it, or abandon it belongs to the states, not the Feds.

You may have read that Louisiana’s famous, controversial, ballyhooed Recovery School District has been dissolved. Eleven years after Hurricane Katrina, the district comprised of charter schools is being returned to the districts from which they were drawn. Most are in New Orleans and will be returned to the Orleans Parish School Board.

 

Can it be true? Are the charter champions really giving up their struggle? John White knows. He is the State Commissioner who regularly boasts about the miracle of the RSD. But he is not telling.

 

Michael Klonsky has his doubts. So does Karran Harper Royal.

 

 

Mercedes Schneider has written two versions.

 

Here is a brief overview.

 

Here is her close analysis of the law. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mercedes Schneider has read the new Every Student Succeeds Act, every word of it.

 

She has three major concerns:

 

First, the bill requires 95% participation in state tests. It is vague about parents’ rights to opt their children out of the test. States can ask for waivers, but this puts them, as she puts it, “at the mercy of” the Secretary of Education.

 

Second, she is worried about the security of data that the U.S. Department of Education collects. It has confidential data on every student and teacher. In a recent hearing, Congressmen mentioned that the Department’s data system had been hacked in the past. Why trust them now?

 

Third, ESSA is as charter-friendly as NCLB. Certainly, the Department is eager to shovel millions, hundreds of millions to charters. Mercedes cites the recent decision of ED to give $71 million to Ohio charters, even as the state’s charter industry was experienced a series of charter scandals. Clearly, the Department is good at talking standards, but its own standards are mighty low.

Mercedes Schneider did a neat job of locating the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. It was 32 pages long.

 

The new Every Student Succeeds Act is 1,061 pages long. Nothing wrong with that, except not many people have the time to read such a lengthy and complicated piece of legislation. That is not good for democracy. When a law is so complex that educated citizens do not have time to read it, only those with a strong interest read the parts that affect them.

 

And the original bill included this clear language:

 

Near the end of the 1965 ESEA document is the following:

 

FEDERAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION PROHIBITED SEC. 604. Nothing contained in this Act shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system.

 

Arne Duncan has certainly pushed the envelope on this one.

 

The main purpose of the original ESEA was equitable resources for the poorest students. Title I.

 

Title I has survived, but ESEA has morphed into a testing and accountability bill, especially since 1994, when states were required to develop standards and accountability systems. Then came the horrible NCLB, which created unprecedented demands for testing and accountability, enforced by the federal government with threats of cutting off federal aid.

 

Now ESSA returns to the states the decisions about how to use the results of tests, but it still mandates annual tests and 95% participation. Sadly, only 1% of students with disabilities will qualify for exemptions from state testing.

 

It has been a long journey, and it is not over yet.

 

After the passage of fifty years and many federal dollars, poor and black children continue to sit in overcrowded classrooms and to lack the basic necessities of schooling. If you don’t believe me, read this graphic portrait of Philadelphia’s filthy public schools. What suburb would permit such horrific conditions?

 

The Network for Public Education and the NPE Action Fund believe in transforming public education so that it works to meet the needs of all children. Both organizations oppose high-stakes testing and privatization.

 

The NPE Action Fund has watched closely as Congress works to revise the federal law called No Child Left Behind and to correct the destructive assaults on education and educators found in Race to the Top. We hope both NCLB and Race to the Top will be consigned to the dustbin of history, for historians to dissect as a classic example of why politicians should respect the work of educators and not assume that they know more than teachers and principals. We believe that the current legislative proposal can be greatly improved. We urge you to contact your Senators and members of the House of Representatives about some serious flaws in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (aka NCLB).

 

Here are some of the key issues that should be revised:

 

Unfortunately the bill continues the annual mandate for testing in grades 3-8, and a waiver will still be needed if states want to give alternative assessments to more than one percent of their students with disabilities and English Language Learners after one year. The reality is many state exams are neither valid nor diagnostically useful for many of these students.

 

The Network for Public Education has consistently opposed annual testing, a practice not found in any of the world’s high-performing nation. In earlier statements, we supported grade-span testing–once in elementary school, once in middle school, and once in high school. We would prefer that teachers control testing and decide how much is just right, with little or no use of standardized testing except for diagnostic purposes, not for ranking and rating students, teachers, principals, or schools.

 

In addition, there are some new provisions that we are very concerned about:

 

The bill appears to require that “academic standards” including proficiency rates and growth based on state test scores, must count for at least 51% of any state’s accountability system. Some observers say that the bill would allow the Secretary of Education to determine the exact percentage of each factor in a state accountability system. This is not acceptable. Every state should be allowed to decide on its own system, including what percent to give standardized tests.

 
The bill would also allow states to use Title II funds, now meant for class size reduction and teacher quality initiatives, for Social Impact bonds, which amount to another profiteering scheme for Wall Street to loot our public schools. Recently, the New York Times reported on how Goldman Sachs helped fund a preschool program in Utah with Social Impact bonds. Goldman Sachs will now make hundreds of thousands of dollars, based on a flawed study that purported to show that 99 percent of these students will not require special education services – a far higher percent than any previous study. We vehemently oppose the inclusion of this provision in ESEA. If preschool is worth funding, and we believe that it is, it should be paid for by public funds and not provide another way for Wall Street profiteers to drain resources from our public schools.

 

We would also like Congress to strengthen federal protection for student privacy, which were weakened by changes in the regulations governing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in 2011. Students’ personally identifiable data should not be released to third parties without the consent of his or her parents.

 

As I previously explained, the Network for Public Education has split into two separate organization: The Network for Public Education is a tax-deductible, charitable organization that will soon have its own c(3) status and is currently hosted by Voices for Education in Tucson, which does have c(3) status. Carol Burris, who recently retired as Principal of South Side High School in Rockville Center, Long Island, New York, is the executive director.

 

The other organization, the NPE Action Fund, was created to endorse candidates and engage in political activity on behalf of public education. It will be a c(4), and contributions to it will not be tax-deductible. The NPE Action Fund does not have money to give to candidates, but we vet candidates and endorse those we believe to be sincerely devoted to the improvement of public schools, not their privatization. Any candidate for state or local school board or any office should apply to its executive director, Robin Hiller, to learn how to obtain the NPE endorsement. rhiller@voicesforeducation.org.

 

FairTest has been the staunchest, most persistent critic of standardized testing for decades. Monty Neill explains here why FairTest supports ESSA, with full recognition of its faults.

 

He writes:

 

“From an assessment reform perspective, FairTest is convinced that the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) now before the House and Senate, though far from perfect, improves on current testing policy. The bill significantly reduces federal accountability mandates and opens the door for states to overhaul their own assessment systems.

 

“Failure to pass this bill in 2015 means NCLB and waivers will continue to wreak havoc for at least another several years.

 

“The primary improvement would be in “accountability.” The unrealistic “Adequate Yearly Progress” annual test score gain requirement would be gone, as would be all the federally mandated punitive sanctions imposed on schools and teachers. States will be free to end much of the damage to educational quality and equity they built into their systems to comply with NCLB and waivers. Waivers to NCLB would end as of Aug. 1, 2016. (Other provisions of the bill would take effect over the coming summer and fall.)

 

“Another modest win would be federal recognition of the right for parents to opt their children out of tests in states that allow it. While a 95 percent test-participation provision remains, states will decide what happens to schools that do not meet the threshold. (The feds had already backed down from enforcing this dictate.)….

 

“A dangerous requirement to rank schools continues. Worse, rankings must be based predominantly on student scores. High school rankings must include graduation rates, and all schools must incorporate English learners’ progress towards English proficiency. This data must be broken out by “subgroup” status. However, states must incorporate at least one additional indicator of school quality (such as school climate or student engagement) and can include multiple such indicators….

 

“Meanwhile, up to seven states will be able to fundamentally overhaul their assessments right away, with additional states allowed to join this pilot program after three years. States could design systems that rely primarily on local, teacher-developed performance assessments (as does the New York Performance Standards Consortium). New Hampshire already has a waiver from NCLB to do that, starting with allowing pilot districts to administer the state test in only three grades. For all grades, the pilots employ a mix of state and local teacher designed performance tasks, an approach with great potential.

 

“The new law also bars the U.S. Secretary of Education from intervening in most aspects of state standards, assessment, accountability and improvement. Given Secretary Arne Duncan’s history (and the track record in New York state of his soon-to-be acting successor, John King), that seems a good thing.”

 

The law is not ideal. But it is far better than NCLB or the failed Race to Nowhere. And we can keep fighting for a better law and resisting at the local level by opting out.