Alexander, colleague announce plans to fix No Child Left Behind

Hank Hayes • Sep 15, 2011 at 3:59 AM

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and another GOP senator announced plans Wednesday for a legislative “fix” to the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education law. “The reason we think that needs to be done is a lot has happened in the last 10 years and to transfer responsibilities back to the states and cities,” the Tennessee Republican, a former U.S. Education secretary and University of Tennessee president, said of the move in a conference call with reporters. Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, has asked the Please see federal government to let Tennessee opt out of NCLB standards adopted by Congress in 2001 and replace them with benchmarks set by the state. The Haslam administration says Tennessee is crafting its own education standards under Race to the Top, an education initiative coming from President Barack Obama’s administration. Alexander said passing the legislative package would eliminate the need for waivers. “I’ve encouraged Governor Haslam to go ahead with his application for a waiver...” Alexander told reporters. “I’m planning to introduce legislation clarifying the (education) secretary’s waiver authority ... (but) I hope he grants the waiver.” U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., noted the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) requirement built in to the 2002 NCLB law was getting “harder and harder” to achieve. “We created a mechanism that would really put pressure on the schools to improve. With AYP, your benchmark for next year’s improvement was always your last year’s improvement,” Isakson said. Alexander pointed out 44 states have adopted common core academic standards, two groups of states are developing common tests for those standards, and more than 40 states are developing common principles for holding schools accountable for student achievement. T

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