Thursday, 19 October 2006 01:57

Statewide Series of Forums on the Federal No Child Left Behind Law

Parents, teachers and school administrators have been invited to attend a statewide series of forums on the federal No Child Left Behind Law. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell announced Monday that he wants to gather comments on ways to modify the law which is due for reauthorization in 2007. The biggest concerns for California and 16 other states that have complained about the federal law are accountability, interventions, corrective actions, the highly qualified teacher requirement and English-learner issues. Accountability tests determine how well students are learning. The test results generate a school's state Academic Performance Index, which shows how much schools and student subgroups improved over last year, and the federal Average Yearly Progress, which shows whether schools and student groups are meeting minimum objectives.
"Both systems have led to a much needed focus on improving the achievement of all students," O'Connell said last August when test results were released. "Yet maintaining two distinct accountability systems is clearly confusing and often counterproductive, so I will continue my push toward moving to a single, seamless accountability system that holds all schools accountable for high standards and that also gives schools credit for improvement and moving all students toward proficiency." O'Connell plans to merge information taken from the public forums with input from other states. All of the information will go to Congress and the U.S. Department of Education as states lobby to change the No Child Left Behind law. There are a total of four forums on the law in California. Two were held Monday in Northern California. There will be a third forum Tuesday in Fresno and a final one Wednesday in Glendale.