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WA Teachers Sound Off about “No Child Left Behind”

October 15, 2007

Tukwila, WA – Washington educators are unloading on federal lawmakers this week about the "No Child Left Behind" Act. Teachers' unions have dubbed the effort "Congressional Call-In Week," and are using the opportunity to express their opposition to certain proposals being recommended as part of the reauthorization of "No Child Left Behind."

Richard Burton of the American Federation of Teachers' Washington State office says using student test scores to evaluate teachers and determine their pay should not be a federal mandate.

"There has been way too much emphasis on these test scores, as kind of the 'be-all and end-all' of evaluation for how well we're doing in our schools."

Burton says making federal rules about pay undermines local collective bargaining agreements. Proponents of "No Child Left Behind" argue it makes teachers accountable for student progress. Teachers explain they've worked under the Act for five years now, and are frustrated that any educational improvements that were promised have been outweighed by NCLB's problems.

Burton explains the weeklong telephone campaign is occurring because teachers don't feel they are being listened to as the Act is being revised.

"It's very frustrating seeing George Miller, the head of the House Committee, proposing this language about mandatory use of test scores for evaluating teachers."

This week, the Martin Luther King Labor Council is expected to approve a written resolution opposing the Miller-Pelosi proposal to reauthorize NCLB.

Chris Thomas/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WA