Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Joint Organizational Statement on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act

This is a little old but it is important, especially since both the NEA and AFT have signed up for it. Personally I would still just like to get rid of it or as the some republicans said the other day, just allow states to opt out, (but without the choice provisions...

The undersigned education, civil rights, children's, disability, and citizens' organizations are committed to the No Child Left Behind Act's objectives of strong academic achievement for all children and closing the achievement gap. We believe that the federal government has a critical role to play in attaining these goals. We endorse the use of an accountability system that helps ensure all children, including children of color, from low-income families, with disabilities, and of limited English proficiency, are prepared to be successful, participating members of our democracy.

While we all have different positions on various aspects of the law, based on concerns raised during the implementation of NCLB, we believe the following significant, constructive corrections are among those necessary to make the Act fair and effective. Among these concerns are: over-emphasizing standardized testing, narrowing curriculum and instruction to focus on test preparation rather than richer academic learning; over-identifying schools in need of improvement; using sanctions that do not help improve schools; inappropriately excluding low-scoring children in order to boost test results; and inadequate funding. Overall, the law's emphasis needs to shift from applying sanctions for failing to raise test scores to holding states and localities accountable for making the systemic changes that improve student achievement.

Recommended Changes in NCLB

Progress Measurement

1. Replace the law's arbitrary proficiency targets with ambitious achievement targets based on rates of success actually achieved by the most effective public schools.

2. Allow states to measure progress by using students' growth in achievement as well as their performance in relation to pre-determined levels of academic proficiency.

3. Ensure that states and school districts regularly report to the government and the public their progress in implementing systemic changes to enhance educator, family, and community capacity to improve student learning.

4. Provide a comprehensive picture of students' and schools' performance by moving from an overwhelming reliance on standardized tests to using multiple indicators of student achievement in addition to these tests.

5. Fund research and development of more effective accountability systems that better meet the goal of high academic achievement for all children.


6. Help states develop assessment systems that include district and school-based measures in order to provide better, more timely information about student learning.

7. Strengthen enforcement of NCLB provisions requiring that assessments must:

  • Be aligned with state content and achievement standards;
  • Be used for purposes for which they are valid and reliable;
  • Be consistent with nationally recognized professional and technical standards;
  • Be of adequate technical quality for each purpose required under the Act;
  • Provide multiple, up-to-date measures of student performance including measures that assess higher order thinking skills and understanding; and
  • Provide useful diagnostic information to improve teaching and learning.

8. Decrease the testing burden on states, schools and districts by allowing states to assess students annually in selected grades in elementary, middle schools, and high schools.

Building Capacity

9. Ensure changes in teacher and administrator preparation and continuing professional development that research evidence and experience indicate improve educational quality and student achievement.

10. Enhance state and local capacity to effectively implement the comprehensive changes required to increase the knowledge and skills of administrators, teachers, families, and communities to support high student achievement.


11. Ensure that improvement plans are allowed sufficient time to take hold before applying sanctions; sanctions should not be applied if they undermine existing effective reform efforts.

12. Replace sanctions that do not have a consistent record of success with interventions that enable schools to make changes that result in improved student achievement.


13. Raise authorized levels of NCLB funding to cover a substantial percentage of the costs that states and districts will incur to carry out these recommendations, and fully fund the law at those levels without reducing expenditures for other education programs.

14. Fully fund Title I to ensure that 100 percent of eligible children are served.

We, the undersigned, will work for the adoption of these recommendations as central structural changes needed to NCLB at the same time that we advance our individual organization's proposals.

  1. Advancement Project
  2. American Association of School Administrators
  3. American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA)
  4. American Association of University Women
  5. American Baptist Women's Ministries
  6. American Counseling Association
  7. American Dance Therapy Association
  8. American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA)
  9. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  10. American Humanist Association
  11. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  12. Americans for the Arts
  13. Annenberg Institute for School Reform
  14. Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  15. ASPIRA
  16. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
  17. Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
  18. Association of Education Publishers
  19. Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO)
  20. Big Picture Company
  21. Center for Community Change
  22. Center for Expansion of Language and Thinking
  23. Center for Parent Leadership
  24. Children's Aid Society
  25. Children's Defense Fund
  26. Church Women United
  27. Coalition for Community Schools
  28. Citizens for Effective Schools
  29. Council of Administrators of Special Education, Inc.
  30. Coalition of Essential Schools
  31. Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
  32. Communities for Quality Education
  33. Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders
  34. Council for Exceptional Children
  35. Council for Hispanic Ministries of the United Church of Christ
  36. Council for Learning Disabilities
  37. Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform
  38. Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  39. Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ)
  40. Division for Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children (DLD/CEC)
  41. Education Action!
  42. Episcopal Church
  43. Every Child Matters
  44. FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing
  45. Forum for Education and Democracy
  46. Hmong National Development
  47. Institute for Language and Education Policy
  48. International Reading Association
  49. International Technology Education Association
  50. Japanese American Citizens League
  51. Learning Disabilities Association of America
  52. League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  53. Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic justice of the United Church or Christ
  54. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  55. NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF)
  56. National Alliance of Black School Educators
  57. National Association for Asian and Pacific American Education (NAAPAE)
  58. National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)
  59. National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Americans (NAFEA)
  60. National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities (NAEAACLD)
  61. National Association of Pupil Service Administrators
  62. National Association of School Psychologists
  63. National Association of Social Workers
  64. National Baptist Convention, USA (NBCUSA)
  65. National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
  66. National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE)
  67. National Conference of Black Mayors
  68. National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP)
  69. National Council for the Social Studies
  70. National Council of Churches
  71. National Council of Jewish Women
  72. National Council of Teachers of English
  73. National Education Association
  74. National Federation of Filipino American Associations
  75. National Indian Education Association
  76. National Indian School Board Association
  77. National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
  78. National Mental Health Association
  79. National Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA
  80. National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
  81. National Reading Conference
  82. National Rural Education Association
  83. National School Boards Association
  84. National School Supply and Equipment Association
  85. National Superintendents Roundtable
  86. National Urban League
  87. Native Hawaiian Education Association
  88. Network of Spiritual Progressives
  89. People for the American Way
  90. Presbyterian Church (USA)
  91. Progressive National Baptist Convention
  92. Protestants for the Common Good
  93. Rural School and Community Trust
  94. Service Employees International Union
  95. School Social Work Association of America
  96. Social Action Committee of the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations
  97. Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  98. Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
  99. Stand for Children
  100. Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL)
  101. United Black Christians of the United Church of Christ
  102. United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
  103. United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
  104. USAction
  105. Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church
  106. Women of Reform Judaism

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