A top GOP lawmaker's plan for rewriting the No Child Left Behind Act amounts to a "rollback" of the law, 38 business, civil rights, and other advocacy organizations said in a letter, sent Jan. 24 to its sponsor.
The draft from U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the House education committee, "would thrust us back to an earlier time when states could choose to ignore disparities for children of color, low-income students, English-language learners, and students with disabilities," the letter says.
The letter was signed by a number of organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Federation of Teachers, the Education Trust, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the National Council of La Raza.
Where do the groups' concerns stem from? Under the current law, states have to test students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. They have to set annual achievement goals for all students, including racial minorities, and students in special education. Schools that don't meet those targets are subject to increasingly serious, federal sanctions. Under the Kline plan, states would still have to test students. But they wouldn't have to set goals for student achievement anymore. And they wouldn't have to intervene in schools that aren't making progress with particular subgroups.