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No Child Left Behind Turns 5-Time for Changes?

January 8, 2007

The federal "No Child Left Behind" law turns five today and critics say it isn't giving the whole picture of Oregon schools. A coalition of one hundred civil rights, religious and education groups called today for major changes to the law that mandates standardized testing and educational goals in a few subjects. They claim it punishes schools and students without giving them the funding or tools to do better. Stan Karp with Rethinking Schools points out that tests are just a small part of education.

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

Monty Neill with Fair Test believes the tests are actually hurting the educational experience.

"There's too much teaching to the test, and it's narrowing the curriculum."

The Bush administration goal is to make all students proficient in math and English by 2014. The plan comes up for reauthorization in Congress this year, and the coalition is asking for a number of changes, including less reliance on high-stakes testing to measure school performance.

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OR