Informe de la Comisión No Child Left Behind

NCLB.jpg El colega Jeff Puryear, co-director del PREAL, comunica desde los Estados Unidos que se ha publicado ayer eI Informe preparado por la Comisión No Child Left Behind.
La Comisión, un organismo privado y bipartidario, recomienda una expansión significante de la Ley No Child Left Behind (NCLB) del 2002, que cambió el énfasis de la política educativa de los Estados Unidos hacia estándares altos y accountability por resultados.
Las recomendaciones van mas allá de las de la Administración Bush e ilustran según Jeff el considerable consenso que existiría en torno a la Ley NCLB y a la idea de ella constituye el camino correcto para avanzar. Lla pregunta principal es cuánto y cómo expandirla y modificarla.
Entre las recomendaciones claves se señala: evaluar a los maestros por el progreso que sus alumnos demuestran en las pruebas; establecer estándares altos nacionales (actualmente cada estado establece sus propios estándares); utilizar pruebas ‘formativas’ que permitan a los maestros monitorear el progreso de cada alumno durante el año escolar; y dar a los directores de colegio áas poder para seleccionar a los maestros.
Al informe de la Misión se puede acceder aquí.
Vr más abajo los artículos del New York Times y del Washington Post publicados el 14 de febrero sobre el Informe de la Comisión.
Sobre la Ley NCLB, ver la entrada de Wikipedia


Tougher Standards Urged for Federal Education Law
By DIANA JEAN SCHEMO
The New York Times
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 — No Child Left Behind, the federal education law, should be toughened to judge teachers and principals by their students’ test scores, and to block chronically ineffective educators from working in high-poverty schools, a private bipartisan commission recommended on Tuesday.
The recommendations were in a report released here by the Commission on No Child Left Behind, a 15-member group led by former Gov. Roy E. Barnes of Georgia and Tommy Thompson, the former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and financed by private foundations. The report is meant to be a blueprint for Congress as it prepares to consider renewal of the law, President Bush’s signature education initiative, later this year.
The commission also proposed that states revamp their testing systems to track individual student progress from year to year, and to give schools credit if students are within sight of achievement targets, rather than only if they reach them.
The report drew praise from the leaders of the Congressional education committees and the administration, but it was immediately attacked by the teachers’ unions and others.
Edward J. McElroy, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said there were no reliable assessment systems to tie student achievement to teacher performance. Currently the law calls for low-income schools to have “highly qualified” teachers, with degrees in the subjects they are teaching. The proposals would ratchet up that criteria.
“The highly qualified measure was only just introduced, and we’re just coming to terms with that,” Mr. McElroy said. “To add another hoop at this point in time just demoralizes people. It’s the opposite of what you’d want to do if you want the system to work.”
Joel Packer, a lobbyist for the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, also criticized the proposals, saying factors outside of school affect how children fare academically.
Monty Neill, executive director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, which is skeptical of standardized exams, said the recommendations “will only intensify teaching to the test.”
At a news conference to release the report, Mr. Barnes said, “We believe our recommendations will help improve academic achievement for our nation’s students and, most importantly, quicken the closing of the achievement gap.”
The chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate education committees promised that the recommendations would be part of the debate over renewing the law. That set this report apart from the flurry of proposals on updating No Child Left Behind coming out in recent weeks.
“I believe so many of their recommendations are going to see light,” said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, and the chairman of the education committee.
Margaret Spellings, the education secretary, said in a statement that the recommendations “recognize the solid foundation built by N.C.L.B. and reaffirm the law’s core principles.”
No Child Left Behind, enacted in early 2002, demands that all schools test students annually in reading and math, and break down the results by ethnic, racial and income groups. Schools where too few students reach state-established targets for proficiency face penalties, ranging from paying for private tutoring to reopening the school under new management.
That number would surely grow with the commission’s recommendations, which were largely aimed at raising standards and closing loopholes in the law.
For example, the commission said the law should require more uniformity in how states report student performance. Each state now chooses the minimum number of students who must be present for a school to report on test results by ethnic and other groups. Some states set the bar so high that they largely sidestep the law’s full scrutiny. Texas, for example, sets the minimum at 200 students, while Maryland, at the other end, sets it at 5.
Citing broad variations in achievement standards between states, the commission also recommended that states adopt a national standard of achievement, pegged to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Its report compared the way in many states, students considered proficient in reading on the state tests were not considered proficient on the National Assessment. In Mississippi, for example, the state test found that 87 percent of fourth graders were proficient in reading. According to the national test, only 18 percent were.
—————————————————————————————————————————————–
‘No Child’ Commission Presents Ambitious Plan
By Amit R. Paley
The Washington Post
Wednesday, February 14, 2007; A03
A commission proposed a wide-reaching expansion of the No Child Left Behind law yesterday that would for the first time require schools to ensure that all seniors are proficient in reading and math and hold schools accountable for raising test scores in science by 2014.
The 230-page bipartisan report, perhaps the most detailed blueprint sent to Congress thus far as it considers renewal of the federal education law, also proposes sanctions for teachers with poorly performing students and the creation of new national standards and tests.
The recommendations from the Commission on No Child Left Behind underscore that the emerging debate over the law is not over whether it will continue, but rather over how much it will be expanded and modified. Even the panel’s leaders acknowledged that their proposal is more sweeping than many politicians had expected or wanted.
“You’re never going to hit a home run unless you swing for the fences, and this is swinging for the fences” said Tommy G. Thompson, a former secretary of health and human services in the Bush administration and a former governor of Wisconsin. Thompson, a Republican who is weighing a run for president, co-chaired the commission with former Georgia governor Roy E. Barnes, a Democrat.
In a Capitol Hill news conference, the chairmen of the House and Senate education committees and the ranking Republican members praised the report. “I believe so many of their recommendations are going to see life,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
But critics of the law attacked commission proposals that they said would expand the reach of a law that is already too onerous.
“The current No Child Left Behind requirements are challenging enough,” said Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union. “We certainly don’t need any more that are unworkable.”
The 15-member commission, sponsored by the nonpartisan Aspen Institute, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other sources, recommended a number of new testing requirements that would take effect sooner than elected officials had proposed.
The law requires testing in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school, with a goal of universal proficiency by 2014. Schools that fail to make yearly progress toward that target face sanctions.
If the commission’s recommendations were adopted, schools would have to test students in science three times from grades 3 through 12 and in reading and math in 12th grade. The commission recommended sanctions for schools that do not make adequate progress toward 100 percent proficiency on those tests by 2014.
That aim is more ambitious than the Bush administration’s plan, unveiled last month, which proposed sanctions for schools that did not make adequate progress toward full proficiency in science by 2020. The administration did not suggest testing for high school seniors to be taken into account when calculating sanctions for schools.
Senior Democratic lawmakers said yesterday that they were open to the commission’s testing recommendations. “We certainly support it. The question is whether we can work it into the authorization,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the Education and Labor Committee.
Kennedy added, “My own hope is that following science, we can get into history.”
Among 75 recommendations, the panel also proposed evaluating teachers on how well their students perform. The law requires that teachers be highly qualified and demonstrate mastery of the subjects they teach, but the commission said the law also should require that teachers be highly effective. Teachers would have to meet that requirement by showing that their students improved on tests.
The group also suggested creating national standards and tests that states would be encouraged to adopt. If they did not, the Education Department would publicize where state standards fall short.

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