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Tuesday Talk: What replaces NCLB?

October 04, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

One thing progressives and conservatives agree on is that No Child Left Behind is a failed policy but for different reasons. Unfortunately, we’ve made little progress replacing it. Proposals currently being discussed seem to recycle the same high stakes testing mechanisms, carry more unfunded mandates and offer local districts limited flexibility. Let’s build on good ideas instead.

What elements do you think the nation’s new elementary and secondary education policy should include?   

For reference, we've outlined the pros and cons of both plans:
  The Obama plan
  The conservative plan

Thanks for participating! Commenting on this conversation is now closed.


  • carleton says:

    October 4, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Get rid of the unions influence.

  • Jeff Soma says:

    October 4, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I would like to see a world wide standards test for all children, including all children. America would be the front runners and Minnesota would lead the way in America. It is important that when we are measuring success of our students that we use the same tools and we are measuring progess of all children in each country, not just the selected children. As of now, we are comparing education success with different tools and not all children in every country take the tests.

  • Ron E says:

    October 4, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Service learning and career exploration offered @ the high school level for all students. More community learning in all subjects!

  • Laura LaBlanc says:

    October 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

    “The kernel of a strategy contains three elements: a diagnosis, a guiding policy, and coherent action” according to Richard Rumelt, author and consultant on strategy. Writing proposals, setting goals, and testing to evaluate our progress towards our goals is not strategy.

    I don’t see the diagnostic effort in any of these conversations. Looking at 2011 data in St. Paul, 83% of the white students are proficient in reading. It is the children of color who are failing to thrive in the educational environment we have crafted. As a social worker for 24 years, I understand the basis of diagnosis. In diagnosing we first look at history and context to understand the functioning of a child.

    We need the roots of experience, research and precedent built into education. We know what works in education: small school settings that allow education to be in the context of community, culture and history; a setting that demonstrates hope and vision for children’s future; collaborative learning techniques; and a rigorous curriculum. Humans are like all living organisms. When we grow in an unhealthy environment, we get unhealthy outcomes. No testing or evaluation is going to change this.

  • Debbie says:

    October 4, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I think what we should look at is what is education?  Isn’t it looking at how students are thinking and helping them to clarify their thinking about the subjects they are involved in?  NCLB is flawed, because it only asks for results… and because of this children have all sorts of pieces of unconnected information that does not lead to expanded learning that teachers are hoping will happen especially in secondary school.  We need to remember that elementary learning should be the background on which you base higher learning.  Until we do that, you won’t see the growth throughout all the grades that we all are looking for.  It is a new approach and it will take increased training for educators, but it would provide excellent results.

  • Karen Tomsky says:

    October 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    The biggest problem in NCLB is that there seems to be a presumption that if the teachers are good enough, everyone can become a rocket scientist.  There is still a bell shaped curve of intelligence, and certain strengths and weaknesses in people’s abilities. Now if certain students are not good in math, they are labeled stupid (or their teachers are) instead of finding what they are better at and nurturing that.  Those 8th grade math tests are not just the basics, which I agree everyone needs.  I challenge everyone in the Legislature to take those tests, which go far beyond the kind of math most people need for life situations.