Education Leaders Discuss No Child Left Behind Reform

By KBJR News 1

December 6, 2011 Updated Dec 6, 2011 at 11:39 PM CDT

HIBBING, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---U.S. Senator Al Franken is asking Northland education leaders how to improve education in schools across the state.

The Senate Education Committee recently passed provisions in a bi-partisan bill to the No Child Left Behind law.

The bill will be sent to the Senate for debate early next year.

Under the No Child Left Behind law, students in the state of Minnesota are given standardized tests each year to measure a schools success.

Many education leaders believe the tests are not an adequate measure of a student or schools achievement.

"Any student can have a good day or a bad day and if they are judged on that one single measure, it's probably not adequate, it's not appropriate," Robert Belluzzo, Superintendent of Hibbing Public Schools said.

"I don't think it's a true picture of whats going on with the students," Susan Nelson, a science teacher at Hibbing High School said.

The Senate Education Committees solution is to eliminate the current Adequate Yearly Progress system that measures a schools academic success.

Eliminating the AYP will help to measure student growth so schools get credit for how much students actually learn over time.

States would be allowed to choose to measure academics by computer adaptive tests.

"We would hope to have it shifted more to a growth model, where we measure individual progress of students and make sure that they are making progress," Dan Solomon, a Field Representative for Senator Franken's office said. "All students, from kids at the lowest achievement level to the gifted and talented kids as well."

"No two children are alike and so therefore the test isn't going to be one size fits all," Nelson said. "It gives a little more freedom to look at individual students and individual children."

Amendments put forward would also put more focus on college and career readiness and training and recruiting effective principals.

It will also allow foster children to remain in their original schools after they move.

The No Child Left Behind law was implemented by President George Bush in 2002.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch