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TODAY'S QUESTION: What do you think of Obama's proposed changes to the No Child Left Behind Act?

Thursday, March 18, 2010 | 9:57 a.m. CDT; updated 10:03 a.m. CDT, Thursday, March 18, 2010

On Monday, Congress received President Barack Obama's plan to implement sweeping changes to the country's education policy. Changes include removing some mandates of No Child Left Behind and adding others. Congress must approve the plan for any changes to be put into place.

The current act evaluates a school’s success by adequate yearly progress reports based on standardized test scores, with the end goal being that 100 percent of students will achieve grade-level proficiency by 2014.

Obama said the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, of which No Child is the current incarnation, would recognize the need for federal government to play a leading role in the encouragement of reform and standards, but changes will primarily stem from states, school districts and schools.

Obama's proposed "blueprint" includes the following changes:

  • Schools deemed "excellent" or showing significant progress would be rewarded through increased aid dispersed through grants for which the schools must compete.
  • All students should graduate from high school ready for college and a career by 2020, replacing the 2014 grade-level proficiency goal.
  •  States would be required to intervene in schools with achievement problems: The lowest-achieving 5 percent of schools would be required take aggressive action, including replacing principals, replacing staff or closing. The next-lowest 5 percent would be placed on a warning list and expected to take major steps to improve. The 5 percent of schools with the widest achievement gaps would be required to reduce disparities.

The president of the National Education Association expressed disappointment in the administration's first attempt to change No Child policy and Columbia leaders have expressed a "wait and see" attitude about the changes.

What do you think of Obama's proposed changes? Will Columbia's schools be affected? Do you think Obama's proposed plan is a significant change from the No Child Left Behind Act?


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