Time for a strong message on ESEA

There are a lot of petitions and sign-ons these days. Do they do any good?

This one, called the Declaration to Rebuild America, gets at most of PAA’s priority issues and includes a good mix of people and organizations as early endorsers. It may be an indication that the message of true education progressives is becoming clearer and more unified.

The full Declaration is too long to reproduce here, but its main aspects are very similar to PAA’s statement of beliefs.

A strong, unified message from public school advocates is especially critical now that Congress has gone back to work on reauthorizing (revising) what used to be called the No Child Left Behind Act, now the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA.

Here’s a summary of an ESEA proposal released earlier this week by the Democratic Senate education committee chair Tom Harkin. There’s also a good analysis of the proposal from Ed Week’s Alyson Klein, a handy side-by-side comparison chart of the Senate and House proposals, and a critique by Monty Neill of FairTest, who raises concerns that Harkin’s bill maintains the overemphasis on testing and punishment and fails to provide needed support for schools.

The Declaration includes seven principles including opposition to school privatization and high-stakes testing, as well as the need for equitable funding and a more engaging curriculum. It makes recommendations in seven areas including better assessments, effective discipline, and meaningful engagement of parents and others in setting school policy.The statement concludes: “As a nation, we’re failing to provide the basics our children need for an opportunity to learn. Instead, we have substituted a punitive high-stakes testing regime that seeks to force progress on the cheap. But there is no shortcut to success. We must change course before we further undermine schools and drive away the teachers our children need.”

Take a look at the document and consider signing and sharing with friends, colleagues, and your Congressional representatives.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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