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Make Next Federal Education Law Work

Make Next Federal Education Law Work
July 5, 2012

The article about Virginia's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver ("Virginia freed from federal No Child Left Behind education law," Web, Sunday) rightly observed that NCLB isn't working. If we're not careful, the next federal education law won't work, either.

The House education committee has passed an NCLB update that falls short of delivering what schools and kids need. It shortchanges early education. It undermines commitments to close the funding gap between rich and poor school districts, and the performance gap between students in those schools. It eliminates existing teacher qualification standards and restricts class-size-reduction efforts. And it weakens school accountability.

A strong education proposal invests in early education so kids aren't already behind on their first day of kindergarten. It insists on attainable standards and delivers the funding to recruit and pay for the best teachers and individualized support to meet each student's needs. That's what every parent would want, and it's what every Washington-area taxpayer must demand.

If our leaders in Congress don't insist on improvements during this year's House floor debate, we could be right back here in 10 years wondering why the new NCLB law didn't work.

BRUCE LESLEY
President
First Focus Campaign for Children
Washington