|WALZ ANNOUNCES NCLB "TIME-OUT" BILL|
Rochester — Today, Congressman Tim Walz announced that he is co-authoring legislation with Republican Congressman Sam Graves called the “NCLB Recess Until Reauthorization Act” which if passed, will impose a time-out on the flawed policies of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that are undermining the education our children receive.
Congressman Walz was joined Saturday at the Rochester Public Schools Edison Building by Rochester Superintendent Romain Dallemand, school board members, teachers, parents and students who support the “NCLB Recess Until Reauthorization Act.”
Statement on HR 6239
Today, I’m here to announce that I’ve introduced legislation with my Republican colleague, Sam Graves of Missouri, that will give schools and teachers a ‘time out’ from ill-conceived sanctions imposed by the No Child Left Behind law.
I’m disappointed that this bill is even necessary, because Congress was supposed to take time this year to work with the President to fully fund No Child Left Behind and to fix what isn’t working with the law.
Unfortunately, Congress didn’t do its job this year. And as a result, children, parents, teachers and schools all across the country must continue to operate under a law that nearly everyone agrees should be fixed.
Well, if Congress and the President can’t or won’t take action this year, then I will work across party lines to protect students and schools from being penalized by bad policy for yet another year. I believe that it’s time that Members of Congress hold themselves as accountable as we hold our students and schools.
Many of you remember when No Child Left Behind became law in 2002. Since that time, much has changed for educators and students in America.
Teachers have provided more information than ever before to parents about the educational progress of our children and students are working harder than ever before to master new skills.
As a longtime public school teacher, let me state clearly that I fully support accountability in education and I know that most teachers share my desire to do whatever it takes to see our kids succeed. But the same law that triggered these positive changes also penalizes schools that, while making progress, don’t meet an arbitrary bar set by the Bush Administration.
Everywhere I go in southern Minnesota, I hear from constituents like those here with me today about the problems with No Child Left Behind. As the only teacher in Congress with experience teaching under the unfunded mandates of No Child Left Behind, I believe I have a unique perspective on this law – I celebrate its achievements, but I cannot sit idly by and allow our children to be penalized while we wait for a new President to work with the Congress to fix what is broken.
This bill freezes in place the penalties imposed by NCLB. That means that schools who are about to be sanctioned for not reaching the arbitrary benchmark will have another year to improve their scores, while schools already being sanctioned will not receive additional penalties. However, schools that are already taking corrective action to improve their performance will continue with that plan – students will still receive extra tutoring, teachers will still receive extra professional training and other efforts to improve schools in American will not cease.
My bill simply puts a hold on additional penalties until Congress and the new President can fix and fund NCLB, or until the conclusion of the 2008-2009 school year.
Congress should have fixed NCLB this year, but this President stands in the way of real reform. But just because it didn’t get done doesn’t mean that our kids and our schools should have to suffer through more bad federal education policy for another year. That’s why it is only fair to take a time-out from these penalties until Congress can provide parents, teachers and students a better plan to improve America’s schools – a plan that truly sets high expectations for all students and rewards results in the classroom.
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