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Teachers Looking to Obama to Improve Student Achievement

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January 22, 2009

Michigan educators are looking to do a better job in the classroom and are asking the Obama administration to make changes in the No Child Left Behind Act. The broad-ranging federal mandate requires, in part, that all students' scores increase every year.

Michigan Education Association communications director Doug Pratt says the Act over-emphasizes standardized testing, which leaves other aspects of education neglected.

"We should be making sure we have adequate class sizes, that we have adequate textbooks - more than just a single measure of a test score on what a student does on a particular day."

The over-reliance on standardized test scores derails the professional expertise of teachers, says Pratt.

"That really creates an environment in which you're teaching to the test, and that's really constraining the professional expertise of teachers to use the best learning techniques to help students succeed."

Educators have long criticized the No Child Left Behind Act's goals, saying achieving them is made more difficult because, while the federal government has mandated the testing requirements, it has underfunded Michigan by $1.9 billion since 2002.

Tony Bruscato, Public News Service - MI