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Groups: No Child Left Behind Not Making Adequate Progress

January 8, 2007

It's been five years since President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind act into law, overhauling the way schools are evaluated and funded. Nationwide, over 100 education, children's and civil rights groups are calling on Congress to replace No Child Left Behind's emphasis on testing with reforms to improve school quality and close achievement gaps. Alex Medler with the Colorado Children's Campaign offers one way to do that:

"If we identify a school that's struggling in the elementary grades, I suggest we give universal preschool to every 3 and 4-year-old in that neighborhood and full-day kindergarten to every kid in the school."

Medler notes that Colorado law already requires the standardized testing and possibilities for school choice that are a big part of No Child Left Behind.

Stan Karp is with Rethinking Schools, a think tank dedicated to improving public education; he says No Child Left Behind's focus on testing prevents children from receiving a well-rounded education.

"Things that aren't tested, like social studies, art and music are getting a lot less time, and sometimes these are the things that are the most valuable and challenging to students."

Other critics worry that the emphasis on standards and ratings has increased levels of stress and morale problems among school staff.

Dozens of groups are also calling on the new Congress to provide more federal education funding.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO