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  • Writer's pictureTeam Baesler

ND education leaders glad to see ‘No Child Left Behind’ was left behind itself

Congress has overwhelmingly passed a law that re-authorizes and changes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Gone is No Child Left Behind – replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act.

“It finally returns a great deal of authority to the states and local communities, to make decisions on how best to educate our children,” said state School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler.

North Dakota education leaders say it also ends the sole reliance on standardized testing to determine how students – and schools – are doing.

“The prescriptions of NCLB served only to create anxiety, sap the joy from teaching and learning, and diminish the student-centered, teacher-led classrooms that we know best serve the interests of our children,” said North Dakota United president Nick Archuleta.

North Dakota School Boards Association executive director Jon Martinson says also gone is the “Adequate Yearly Progress” standard for schools – in which all students were required to be proficient.

“The consequence of that (AYP) is that it gave the public a false impression that our schools were failing,” said Martinson. “Good schools were labeled ‘in need of improvement.’ Those days are gone.”

Baesler says under No Child Left Behind, students and schools were judged on standardized tests in three subjects – English, Math and Science. She says now that the law is passed, schools will be making changes, starting this spring.

“We’re going to shorten our English and mathematics assessment this spring,” said Baesler. “That will mean less time spent on testing and more time spent on classroom instruction. And we’re going to be starting a routine review of our math and English standards, to insure they reflect our North Dakota goals, sentiments and values.”

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