Summary of Proposed Legislative Changes to ESEA/NCLB

Forum on Educational Accountability


March 2007

The current version of the federal Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (ESEA), called "No Child Left Behind"
(NCLB), needs fundamental change. The Forum on Educational Accountability
(FEA) has submitted legislative language based on the Joint Organizational
Statement on NCLB to the U.S. House and Senate Education Committees
that would remake the law into an effective tool for school improvement.

These proposals address major structural flaws of NCLB - "adequate
yearly progress," intense standardized testing, and harmful
sanctions - while promoting support for essential systemwide
improvements, reasonable growth expectations, and the use of
multiple sources of evidence.

Educationally Helpful Assessments:

- Require fewer but higher quality assessments. Current
law mandates annual reading and math tests in grades 3-8 plus
once in high school, as well as science tests in three grades.
Instead, require state-level reading, math and science assessments
once each in elementary, middle and high school.
- Provide support to states and districts to help develop high-quality
local assessments for use in all grades. These can include classroom,
school and district tests; extended writing assignments; tasks,
projects, performances, and exhibitions; and collected samples
of student classroom work, portfolios or learning records. ESEA
would initially fund 10 pilot programs in states, with more states
to follow.

Rational Expectations for Improvement:

- Hold schools accountable for implementing systemic changes,
including professional development and family support, that can
produce significant improvements in education.
- Use growth measures that incorporate multiple sources of evidence,
including local assessments and graduation and grade promotion
rates. Continue to report outcome data by demographic groups.

-Establish expected rates of improvement in student learning
that are based on performance gains that significant numbers
of Title I schools have actually attained.

Support Instead of Punishment:


- Eliminate NCLB's sanctions, including mandated supplemental
services (tutoring), school transfers, "restructuring,"
governance changes, and privatizing control of schools.
- Use federal and state funds equal to 40% of Title I allocations
to strengthen locally-controlled professional development, parental
involvement and family support.
- Require monitoring and interventions to provide more intensive
and tailored assistance to schools that have difficulty implementing
systemic changes or are unable to meet the required rates of
improvement after five years.

FEA is a working group of some of the signers of the
Joint
Statement
. The legislative language, Joint Statement, and
the report Rethinking Accountability are available at www.edaccountability.org.