New York Times reports on Congressional hearings regarding the reauthorization of the sweeping federal No Child Left Behind law.  Civil rights groups expressed great concern over the proposal to allow districts to devise ?their own measures? of student progress instead of only using statewide tests. They are wise to the ways of the tradition government education system! Once a district is able to include other criteria than achievement, lower standards for children in urban and high poverty schools become a reality. Using “other measures” will only be symbolism over substance, and make the public “feel” good, while students continue to fall behind.

On another aspect of reauthorization, the National Education Association (NEA), and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) expressed intolerance for any proposal to count student test scores in granting pay bonuses.  Is anyone surprised??  As long as student achievement is not linked to a teacher?s performance, don?t expect any real education reform to surface! Principals and superintendents remain powerless in removing weak teachers and rewarding stronger teachers.

Andrew Rotherham, co-founder of Education Sector (education policy think tank in DC) expressed his support of NCLB on NPR.  He expressed two flaws with the current law: 1) only focusing on reading and math instead of a broad array of subjects, and 2) needing more support to turn around failing schools. He felt these two issues could be resolved but the real problem associated with reauthorizing NCLB were political. He warned against weakening the law?s directives. His editorial is worth the time to hear. Don’t hold your breath Andrew! I suspect the teachers’ unions will win the political battle and the law will be weakened, but who thought more federal intrusion would “fix” government schools?