From Diane Ravitch, news that the Senate has passed their long-awaited revision to No Child Left Behind, the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA).
The underlying legislation is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
of 1965, whose purpose was to authorize federal aid to education
targeted to schools that enrolled significant numbers of children living
in poverty. The original bill was about equity, not testing and
And we can all see how that turned out.
The Senate bill retains annual testing, but removes federal sanctions
attached to test results. Any rewards or sanctions attached to test
scores will be left to states.
Wonder what Randy Dorn might enact as reward/sanction?
The Senate rejected private school
vouchers; nine Republican Senators joined with Democrats to defeat the
The bill also strengthens current prohibitions against
the Secretary of Education dictating specific curriculum, standards,
and tests to states, as well as barring the Secretary from tying test
scores to teacher evaluations. The bill repudiates the punitive measures
of of NCLB and RTTT.
The House of Representatives has already passed its own bill, called
the Student Success Act. A conference committee representing both houses
will meet to iron out their differences and craft a bill that will then
be presented for a vote in both houses.
Diane's take on behalf of the Network for Public Education (I'm a member):
I will say that we are pleased to see a decisive rejection of federal
micromanagement of curriculum, standards, and assessments, as well as
the prohibition of federal imposition of particular modes of evaluating
We oppose annual student testing; no high-performing nation in
the world administers annual tests, and there is no good reason for us
to do so. We reject the claim that children who are not subjected to
annual standardized tests suffer harm or will be neglected. We believe
that the standardized tests are shallow and have a disparate impact on
children who are Black and Brown, children with disabilities, and
children who are English language learners. We believe such tests
degrade the quality of education and unfairly stigmatize children as
We also regret this bill’s financial support for charter
schools, which on average do not perform as well as public schools, and
in many jurisdictions, perform far worse than public schools.
have preferred a bill that outlawed the allocation of federal funds to
for-profit K-12 schools and that abandoned time-wasting annual testing.
She finishes by pointing out that it will be easier to fight at a state level for grassroots groups, than at a federal level.