In a speech at Kenmore Middle School, President Obama urged Congress to fix No Child Left Behind (NCLB) before the start of the next school year. The President articulated key priorities for reforming NCLB that will enable us to win the future and prepare our students to out-educate and out-compete the world in the 21st century economy:
* A fair accountability system that shares responsibility for improvement and rewards excellence, and that is based on high standards and is informed by sophisticated assessments that measure individual student growth;
* A flexible system that empowers principals and teachers, and supports reform and innovation at the state and local level;
* And a system focused on the schools and the students most at risk -- that targets resources to persistently low-performing schools and ensures the most effective teachers serve students most in need.
"We need to make sure we're graduating students who are ready for college and a career.," President Obama said. "In the 21st Century, it's not enough to leave no child behind. We need to help every child get ahead. We need to get every child on a path to academic excellence."
As a recent an analysis from the Department of Education shows, NCLB's broken accountability system means that the overwhelming majority of schools will not meet NCLB's goals and the students most at risk won't get the help they need. Instead of NCLB's one-size-fits-all mandates, we need to fix this law now so that we can close achievement gaps and win the future.
Over the past several weeks, President Obama has highlighted schools across the country that demonstrate the impact of reforms at the state and local levels, the importance of shared responsibility in education, and most importantly the goal of achieving results. At Miami Central High School the President highlighted the ability of a community to come together and make the tough reforms and take on the challenging work to turnaround a low-performing school. At TechBoston Academy, the President discussed the shared responsibility and positive results of public and private sectors in the education of our nation's children.
In today's speech, the President praised current efforts by Congressional leaders to replace NCLB and urged Congress to make these vital reforms before the next school year begins. With the United States lagging far behind international competitors in science, reading and math, the need for swift reform has never been greater.
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