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STC Superintendent backs changes in federal No Child Left Behind Act

October 28, 2011
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) which has been in place in the education system since 2002 is up for some changes. From President Obama to state and local education leaders, agreement on modification of the program is in the air.

The U.S. Congress has before it renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which provides the federal funding for education administered by states.

The South Tama School District has been cited as one of 30 districts in Iowa in need of assistance under NCLBA. The designation was for the second year under the State Report Card for No Child Left Behind.

Article Photos

Kerri Nelson
South Tama Superintendent

The report shows STC students are not making sufficient measured progress in reading and math under the federal program guidelines.

While there is no call for a lowering of standards, a waiver will be sought in February, 2012, by the Iowa Department of Education from No Child Left Behind requirements.

"We expect our schools to meet high standards, but we need to do it in a way that focuses on students making strong progress each year," Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass said in a Oct 12 news release."The bar has to be reasonable."

Commenting on the federal proposals, South Tama Superintendent Kerrie Nelson told The News-Herald in an email:

"The reauthorization of ESEA is a golden opportunity to continue to raise the bar in education, while revisiting and improving upon what we have learned from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) era.

"The accountability measures that have been in place under the NCLB legislation have created a nation wide focus on equity in education, closing the achievement gap, and raising the bar for education that have been very positive.

"It is difficult to argue against the premise that schools should have high academic standards and be accountable for the meeting needs of all of our students; and yet, the accountability measures that have been in place under the NCLB legislation have failed to accomplish the intended outcomes.

"Simply stated, there are better ways to assess student learning and define proficiency than to use of a single test and cut score.

"The modifications in the accountability measures that are being discussed focus on students' academic growth over time, which is a much more reasonable way to look at student achievement.

"While the proposed changes at the state and federal level are being met with controversy, I believe many of the changes are necessary to ensure that our schools are held accountable for providing a high quality education for all students."



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