E-Mail news for the K-12 education profession | October 17, 2003
Keeping up with the No Child Left Behind Act
 
New federal mandates for U.S. schools will change the shape of the public education system. This ASCD SmartBrief Special Report offers a collection of resources for helping educators understand and implement NCLB.
 
At A Glance 
The Law
President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, the reauthorized version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, into law on Jan. 8, 2002.
 Here's a list provided by ASCD summarizing major provisions of the NCLB law.
 For even more detail, read the full text of the law.
The Debate
There is no shortage of controversy over NCLB. This article from The Washington Post highlights the key points of dispute.
The News
Access an extensive collection of NCLB articles and resources from SmartBrief's news archive. To register for this free service, simply type in the e-mail address at which you receive SmartBrief and create a password. Sign up now.
Testing and NCLB 
Reading First: Tips for cutting through the clutter
Understanding the core definition of scientifically based research is key to meeting the mandates of the federal Reading First initiative, says Danielle Carnahan of the Center for Literacy at North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Carnahan translates the terms and offers tips on how to find the best research available.   Journal of Staff Development (5/2003)
 Click here for detailed information on Reading First from the U.S. Department of Education.
Research takes center stage with NCLB
Dan Laitsch, senior policy analyst for ASCD, examines questions surrounding the federal government's push toward research-based academic and professional development programs. Laitsch says the shift in ideology "holds great promise" but notes that a lack of funding could undermine the effort.   Infobrief (10/2003)
Teacher Quality 
Education Department updates teacher quality guidance
The Department of Education has issued new guidance on teacher quality to clarify some confusing parts about NCLB requirements. Topics covered include whether teachers who teach more than one subject need to be "highly qualified" in both and how to assess veteran teachers.   Education Week (10/8)
 Defining the criteria for "highly qualified" teachers States are progressing unevenly toward achieving the federal requirement of having every elementary teacher and secondary teachers of core subjects "highly qualified" by the end of the 2005-06 school year.   Education Week (9/20)
 Read the Department of Education's second annual report on teacher quality, "Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge."
ASCD's Gene Carter: Adequate teacher preparation is crucial
Programs that don't adequately prepare teachers for the classroom experience do a "disservice to both the teachers and students they profess to help," says Gene R. Carter, executive director of ASCD. While alternative certification programs are consistent with the government's push for more fast-track teacher training, they undermine the importance of professional knowledge that can be gained from traditional programs, Carter says.   Is It Good for the Kids? (10/2003)
 A July 2003 report by the GAO said states need more information to determine whether teachers are "highly qualified" under No Child Left Behind.
 The Education Commission of the States reviews the most effective strategies for educating and training teachers.
NCLB and The States 
Progress reports bring some states' academic standards into question
As the new school year gets under way, a provision in NCLB requiring schools to make "adequate yearly progress" on assessment tests is causing widespread confusion, in part because states' academic benchmarks vary. In Florida, for instance, 87% of schools failed to make adequate progress, prompting some to call for lawmakers to lower benchmarks.   Education Week (9/3)
 The Bush administration says the government approved NCLB testing plans for all 50 states, but in reality, just five states have had their accountability plans approved, according to an Education Week analysis.   Education Week (8/6)
 The Council of Chief State School Officers examines how states have developed accountability plans to comply with new federal testing mandates in its Statewide Education Accountability Under NCLB report.
 With NCLB in full effect, two states, Oregon and Pennsylvania still have not finalized their education budgets for this year.   Stateline.org (8/27)
Study: No easy solution for failing schools
Education policy expert Ronald C. Brady examines intervention efforts in three school districts designed to turn around failing schools. Successful intervention, while rare, requires the right mix of people and timing, as well as patience from policymakers who may expect results too fast, Brady says. Can Failing Schools Be Fixed?
 
   
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Perspectives 
No Child Left Behind: Are there alternatives?
Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews, a proponent of the No Child Left Behind Act, asked 12 education experts, ranging from teachers to professors, how they would change the new federal education law.   The Washington Post (2/11)
What is "highly qualified?"
Stanford University professor Pam Grossman calls into question the Bush administration's wisdom in requiring that all teachers be judged "highly qualified" under guidelines laid out in the No Child Left Behind Act. The criteria used by the government to measure teachers' qualifications actually will ease barriers that exist for entry into the field and in the end will harm students, Grossman says.   Harvard Education Letter (9/2003)
Report Profiles Successful Districtwide School Reform
A case study report released by the Learning First Alliance shows that five high poverty school districts raised student achievement by focusing on districtwide strategies to improve instruction. ASCD played a key role in co-chairing the project, visiting the districts, and developing the report.
ASCD Resources 
Resources focused on Teaching and Learning
 What Works in Schools -- The What Works in Schools Online Survey asks teachers and administrators to create a profile of how their school or district addresses the factors that influence student achievement.
 for more information what works For more information about the research-based What Works in Schools program, click here.
 ASCD Fall Teaching conference The ASCD Fall Teaching and Learning Conference: What Works in Schools-Increasing Student Achievement Through Research-Based Practices, will be held in Philadelphia, PA, October 16-18.
Policy-focused Information
 ASCD ESEA site Click here to view ASCD's site devoted to ESEA and the No Child Left Behind Act.
 ASCD historical backgorund ASCD offers historical and background information on NCLB.
 Read ascd's analysis Read ASCD's analysis of NCLB/ESEA.
 state-by-state nclb State-by-state NCLB resources from ASCD.
 ASCD's e-mail list ASCD's ESEA electronic mailing list gives members a place to share ideas about NCLB.
Other useful links
 for all things nclb For all things NCLB, check out the U.S. Department of Education's Web site.
 Read the Learning First alliance's Read the Learning First Alliance's publication, "A Practical Guide to Talking With Your Community About No Child Left Behind and Schools in Need of Improvement."
 getting along with nclb Check to see how states are getting along with meeting NCLB requirements with the Education Commission of the States' daily updates.
 CCSSO breakdown The Council of Chief State School Officers breaks down requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and offers tips for implementing individual components of the law.

SmartStat 
A Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll released Aug. 20 found that 40% of Americans knew very little about NCLB and 36% knew nothing at all.  




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