NASBE Issues Guiding Principles for NCLB Reauthorization


01.29.2007—The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) last week released a list of "guiding principles" that it hopes Congress will consider as it makes modifications to the No Child Left Behind Act. The organization argues that changes should be made only in collaboration with those who have had experience implementing the existing law and who know first-hand "what works and what doesn't work."

"Congress simply cannot undertake improvements to the law without the expertise and the input of state boards of education. These recommendations represent the fundamental priorities identified by state board of education members for any federal education reforms," said Brad Bryant, NASBE president and member of the Georgia State Board of Education, in a prepared statement.

Specific recommendation by NASBE include:

  • Better alignment of state and federal accountability systems, and allowing the use of growth model measures in all states;
  • Flexibility in state assessment requirements, particularly for special needs students such as students with disabilities and limited-English proficient students;
  • Increasing state resources targeted to turning around low-performing schools;
  • Greater transparency and full disclosure of federal negotiations and approvals of state applications; and
  • Completion of reauthorization in 2007.

"Ultimately, these 'guiding principles' are about transitioning NCLB from a law of absolutes to one that recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach is difficult, if not impossible, to put into practice. We all want to achieve the goals of NCLB, but states must be given the flexibility and opportunity to innovate to reach these goals in their own ways while still being held to firm benchmarks of progress," said Brenda Welburn, NASBE executive director, in a prepared statement.

The "principles" were developed following a year-long review of the No Child Left Behind Act by NASBE and were "unanimously approved by the NASBE membership," according to the organization.

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About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director, education for 1105 Media's Public Sector Media Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal. A 22-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

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