The new Congress is set to update No Child Left Behind, and it’s a chance to get both sides of the aisle behind real change, writes Arne Duncan in the Washington Post. Both parties share similar concerns about NCLB—its way of labeling schools “failures,” its bubble tests, its flawed teacher standards. And both parties support the act’s transparency measures and some of its data methods, notes the education secretary.
The Obama administration takes these concerns seriously, calling for “more flexibility and fairness in our accountability system, a bigger investment in teachers and principals, and a sharper focus on schools and students most at risk.” And there’s no time to lose: US students are already behind in reading, math, and science, and graduation rates are floundering. Duncan hears the naysayers predicting partisanship will rule the day, but "conventional wisdom serves to prop up the status quo—and is often wrong. Let's do something together for our children that will build America's future, strengthen our economy and reflect well on us all.”