President Barack Obama wants Congress to reform the No Child Left Behind Act. The Obama Administration says the program is failing. The president recently cited a finding by the Department of Education that public schools failing to meet proficiency requirements in math, science and reading has jumped from 37% to 82% in a single year. How did that happen? Under the act, 100% of schools must meet national standards by 2014 or face severe consequences.
A key component of this is the Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP. Schools are to not only hold a steady, static level, but actually improve every year. Now there′s a concept! Those schools which fail to meet their AYP targets after six consecutive years could face being turned into charter schools, or the state government taking over the local school districts. Just missing AYP targets four consecutive years could force school boards to replace their entire teaching staffs!
Not exactly something that teacher-union-friendly Barack Obama wants to happen. At the very least, Obama wants Congress to allow for an expansion of a waiver program, giving public schools more time, which would allow unionized teachers to keep their jobs. During his State of the Union Address, Obama called on Congress to replace the entire law.
Needless to say, the Obama Administration is creating a sense of ′urgency′ for John Boehner and the GOP House to do something immediately with No Child Left Behind before the start of the next school year. But with other matters on the plate, like still trying to hammer out a budget deal for fiscal year 2010, dealing with the National Debt Ceiling and the 2011 budget, can we really expect anything ‘progress’ before September? So far, Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have been reluctant to address these other issues on funding the federal government. Given that teacher unions generally fund Democrat campaigns, there is no urgency for the GOP to lift a finger to help the unions, or Obama and Reid. How the Education Department came up with this number of failing schools increasing from 37% to 82% in a single year is also dubious, to say the least. Nice try, O-man, better luck next time!