As Start of School Draws Near, Rep. Kind Calls for Meaningful Reform of No Child Left Behind
Following a meeting with area educators and the National Education Association President Reg Weaver, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) today called for meaningful reform of No Child Left Behind, which is up for reauthorization in Congress this fall.
"While it is important to hold our schools accountable for progress, No Child Left Behind has created an education system that is too focused on standardized tests, and not the students themselves," Rep. Kind said. "It is my hope that through the reauthorization process, we can reform No Child Left Behind to work better for America's schools, its teachers, and most importantly, its kids."
Rep. Kind, a former member of the Education and Labor Committee, called for commonsense reforms such as allowing schools to measure student achievement through individual growth models, rather than standardized tests. Currently students are assessed by grade level, and individual students' progress is not tracked. A growth model system would track the same group of students over time.
Rep. Kind also favors allowing states to use multiple indicators to calculate "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP), a measure that is required for federal funding. For instance, to calculate AYP, a state could use such indicators as graduation, dropout, and college enrollment rates, or assessments in science, government, and writing, in addition to the already required reading and math assessments.
"Success isn't measured by reading and math scores alone," Rep. Kind said. "We need to give our teachers flexibility to cater to each student's needs, rather than tying their hands with a one-size-fits-all approach. It is more important than ever that we ensure each student has the education and skills they need to compete in an increasingly global, 21st century economy; and these commonsense reforms would be a great step toward achieving that."
Rep. Kind is also leading an effort in the House to make physical education a priority in No Child Left Behind. He recently introduced the "Fit Kids Act," (H.R. 3297) which would require states to be measured on their progress toward meeting a national goal for required physical education of 150 minutes/week in elementary schools and 225 minutes/week in middle and high schools.
"As the incidence of obesity, juvenile diabetes, and other chronic illnesses grows in Wisconsin and across the nation, the time is now to make physical activity a priority in our schools," Rep. Kind said. "Ensuring that our schools are providing comprehensive physical education will give every child an opportunity - regardless of their background - to learn healthy habits and get moving. We will see the benefits in their math and reading test scores, get to the root of the obesity epidemic, and get kids on a healthy path early in life."
The "Fit Kids Act" is supported by the American Heart Association, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, and the Healthy Schools Campaign.