Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Duncan: "A Lot about NCLB and U.S. Education Needs to Change"

Here are Education Secretary Arne Duncan's prepared remarks for a Thursday speech on No Child Left Behind, the 2002 incarnation of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is up for reauthorization.

From Duncan's remarks: "The biggest problem with NCLB is that it doesn’t encourage high learning standards. In fact, it inadvertently encourages states to lower them. The net effect is that we are lying to children and parents by telling kids they are succeeding when they are not."

I have to give credit for mentioning disabilities in a speech -- as far as I've seen, the first time he has as education secretary. Specifically, his remarks say: "Today I am calling on all of you to join with us to build a transformative education law that offers every child the education they want and need – a law that recognizes and reinforces the proper role of the federal government to support and drive reform at the state and local level....Let us build a law that brings equity and opportunity to those who are economically disadvantaged, or challenged by disabilities or background."

Duncan is also going to ask for input from stakeholders, which I hope will include special ed advocates and parents of children with special needs. "Over the coming months the administration will be developing its proposal for reauthorization," his remarks say. "Before we do, however, we want to hear from you. We want your input."

Stay tuned for an update after he gives the speech tomorrow.
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