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Duncan: It's Time to Move Past No Child Left Behind

Duncan: It's Time to Move Past No Child Left Behind

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently wrote a blog post encouraging federal lawmakers to replace No Child Left Behind with a "new and better law."

"For more than a decade, states and schools throughout this country have worked within the narrow confines of the No Child Left Behind law. It’s long past time to move past that law, and replace it with one that expands opportunity, increases flexibility and gives schools and educators more of the resources they need," Duncan said in his post featured on

Duncan said that there is "real movement on Capitol Hill" in terms of moving towards a new law "with many important decisions happening in just the next few weeks."

"But it is by no means certain what that law will look like -- or whether it will, indeed, be a step forward," he wrote in his blog post. "In hundreds upon hundreds of conversations with educators, I have heard about frustrations with the 2001 No Child Left Behind law, and I am hopeful that lawmakers will find their way to a bipartisan agreement on a law that serves students, teachers and principals better."

According to Duncan, "the intentions of the No Child Left Behind revision were good, but the implementation, for many, has been frustrating."

"It aimed to bring transparency and meaningful responsibility for the learning progress of 'subgroups' of students who had struggled in the past — students in poverty, minority students, those with disabilities, those learning English and others. That’s a good idea. But in practice, the law created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed," he said. "I believe we need to do precisely the reverse, giving schools more resources, more support and more flexibility. I believe we need to scrap No Child Left Behind and replace it with a far better law — a law that continues key supports for equity in education as a national priority, rather than making equity of opportunity optional."

Duncan said that he recently "laid out core ideas for a new law that ensures real opportunity."

"Teachers, principals, students and families have helped to spur enormous progress in education throughout the country — leading to our highest high-school graduation rate in history, dropout rates at historic lows, and a million more black and Hispanic students in college than there were in 2008," he wrote. "I believe we need to double down on that kind of progress and expand opportunity for America’s children — not turn back the clock. In order to do that, I called for doing several things that have enormous relevance to educators."

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Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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