The US Congress is considering how to revise No Child Left Behind, the Bush-era version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the most important federal law that governs our public schools. NCLB has been extremely damaging in the eyes of most parents, and needs fundamental reform. Unfortunately, the Obama administration plans to make it worse in many respects.
Parents Across America has developed our own blueprint, based upon less testing and privatization, more parent input, and a greater emphasis on evidenced-based reforms that have been proven to work to improve schools, such as class size reduction. Our complete blueprint was featured on the Washington Post Answer Sheet, and is posted on our PAA website as a pdf here.
Please sign our petition in support of our proposals, and send a message to the President and the US Congress now!
Parents have the closest connection to public schools, and the most at stake in their success.
Briefly, we oppose the current corporate "reform" agenda, which includes privatization, attacks on teachers, and an expansion of standardized testing. These strategies have no track record of success, and the majority of US parents oppose them.
We are especially concerned that the testing associated with the new Common Core standards will cost cash-strapped states and districts tens of billions of dollars, will yield unreliable results, and will significantly increase the amount of time and energy devoted to testing and test prep in our children’s schools.
As the PAA blueprint makes clear, parents want reforms that have been proven to work, such as smaller classes, parent involvement in decision-making, and meaningful locally-designed assessments and evaluation systems.
As a parent, I support:
* Improving schools by means of evidence-based solutions backed by parents and other stakeholders, including class size reduction and more parent involvement in decision-making.
* Fewer standardized tests, elimination of high-stakes exams, and the right of parents to have their children opt out of standardized tests.
* Sufficient and equitable resources in all public schools, so that every child has the chance to receive a high-quality education.
* Vouchers, charter takeovers and other forms of school privatization that take resources from the schools attended by most students and put them into private hands, often with little oversight.
* Policies that expand the use of testing in our schools, or use test scores to punish schools, teachers or students.
* Closing schools as an "improvement" strategy.
* Forcing states or districts to compete for federal funds. A quality education should be a right, not a race.
I am eager to discuss these ideas with you and will follow up with a phone call to your office. Thank you so much for your service to our children.