Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently outlined the administration’s plan for a thorough overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The bipartisan plan seeks to replace the one-size-fits-all mandates of NCLB with a more flexible approach.
Secretary Duncan stated he knows as a long-time educator himself that the best ideas “are always going to come from the local level.” He said NCLB went wrong when “It was very loose on goals, but very tight, very prescriptive on how you get there.” In contrast, he said, “We want to be tight on goals, a high bar for every single child, with college equivalent standards. We’ve seen great local leadership there. We want to be much looser on how you get there.”
Highlighting the bipartisan support for the changes, Senators Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Mike Enzi, R-Wyo, and Lamar Alexandaer, R-Tenn, joined Duncan to support the administration’s plan. Alexander said he favors the administration’s new approach, commenting that he supports national standards “but I don’t think the federal government should set them.” Harkin, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, indicated the bill might use a new name, replacing “No Child Left Behind” with perhaps “Every Child Counts.”