Congressman Young Introduces NCLB Improvements Act
Alaskan Congressman Don Young has introduced H.R. 4837, the No Child Left Behind Improvements Act. This bill offers improvements that address many of the unintended consequences of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) while holding states and school districts accountable. The bill contains over forty provisions, focused on five areas: assessments, measuring adequate yearly progress, sanctions, state flexibility by the U.S. Department of Education, and non-public schools.
"As a former teacher, I am a firm believer in the quality education of our children," said Rep. Young. "I believe the goals of the original No Child Left Behind Act are admirable but a "one-size-fits-all' approach to student achievement is not possible. NCLB was signed into law eight years ago; reform for this legislation is overdue.
"Alaska is not alone in having to face unique challenges as it struggles to educate its children. Each state in this country has geographic, economic or cultural barriers that prevent its schools from reaching a level of success as mandated by NCLB. My bill builds on the existing law and offers improvements that address many of the unintended consequences of the legislation while holding states and school districts accountable. I have fourteen grandchildren, and I want to do everything I can to ensure that they, along with all of Alaska's children, receive the best education possible; my bill will help do that."
Highlights of the bill:
* Offers greater flexibility to states in the use of alternate assessments for students with disabilities based on the individual education program (IEP) and authorizes states and school districts to count the scores in the calculation of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
* Offers states the flexibility to use alternate assessments for students who are not proficient in English.
* Removes restrictions from the current law that prohibit local school districts from providing supplemental services solely because the school district did not make AYP or is in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring status.
* Grants authority to the Secretary of Education to do the following:
o Approve state accountability plans that vary from the federal framework to align with effective state accountability systems.
o Grant statutory and regulatory waivers that are unnecessarily burdensome or duplicative of state requirements.
o Make public any approved amendments to state accountability plans.
* Authorizes students enrolled in non-public schools who receive Title I services to be given the same assessments as public school students.
* Gives states the option to withhold Title I support to the non-public schools if their Title I students do not make AYP and perform at lower levels than their counterparts in the area's public schools for three years or more.