Now that the Democrats have taken over the Congress, the debate over the reauthorization of NCLB has begun in earnest according to a recent New York Times article. Among the issues the Democrats are raising are as follows:
- Easing punitive measures which seek to achieve accountability;
- Allowing for more flexibility under the law;
- Creating common standards for what constitutes sufficient yearly progress;
- Proposals for an increased federal role in school construction and renovation;
- Proposals to increase funding for NCLB by as much as $57 million dollars.
Secretary of Education Spelling indicated that the White House would like to see changes in the law as it effects testing of children receiving special education and those with limited English. According to the New York Times story, Secretary Spelling "also said that areas of common concern included how to test special education students and those with limited English." The Urban Law Journal had some thoughtful commentary on this story.
This is the opening round in what promises to be highly charged political debate. For me, I would like to see a private right of action for stakeholders (e.g. parents) to sue for violations of the law.