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Nashville Board Suggests Amendments to NCLB

The Board unanimously adopted a resolution on September 9 stating its “serious concerns” about some provisions of the Federal “No Child Left Behind” legislation and suggesting seven potential changes. The complete text of that resolution reads:

Resolution by the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education Nashville, Tennessee

Whereas, the Board was elected to represent the citizens of Davidson County, Tennessee in providing a public education system that will meet the needs and ensure success of all students; and

Whereas, the vision of the Board of Education of the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools is to become the top performing school district in the nation, and

Whereas, the Board's mission is to do whatever it takes to ensure that all students acquire the knowledge and skills to become productive, responsible citizens; and

Whereas, the Board values a school system that is richly diverse and strives to maintain that diversity; and

Whereas, the Board of Education has previously adopted and directed the administration to implement a comprehensive strategic plan that supports and holds schools accountable for the major tenets of No Child Left Behind including:

Raising accountability by carefully measuring school progress every year

Setting goals to improve student performance for all students

Closing the achievement gap between and among all subgroups

Improving teacher quality by providing funds for professional development

Providing school choice

Making schools safe and drug free

Providing research-based reading programs

Whereas, the Board applauds our Nation’s leaders for sharing our vision of
ensuring that every child can and will learn through the federal legislation, No Child Left Behind, and

Whereas, the Board is charged with being knowledgeable of Federal, State, and local requirements that are mandated by law and being proactive in seeking changes for any laws that may negatively impact the learning of any of its students or pose a threat to the overall welfare of the District; and now, therefore be it Resolved by the MNPS Board of Education, that we support amending the No Child Left Behind Act to address these serious concerns:

The requirement for “all” children to meet the same standard is unrealistic for children who do not speak English and for some
special education students;

The criteria for making schools High Priority and Target Schools have the potential for unintended discrimination against some
groups of children;

The federal funding provided is less than promised when the Act was passed and is insufficient to meet realistic goals for all students;

The tests that are currently being given are inappropriate and unfair to some children, namely English Language Learners who have not
had the opportunity to master basic English skills and special education students who are not taught the regular curriculum due to their level of cognitive functioning;

Certain aspects of the “highly qualified teacher” criteria are unrealistic, potentially creating an even greater teacher shortage; The criteria applied to public schools are not the same as those applied to private schools that accept federal funding and to agencies selected as supplemental service providers;

The sanctions for public schools will not help them improve, but will further damage their ability to progress and ultimately will devastate support for public education.

Dr. Garcia reported that several other urban districts had contacted his office to ask for copies of the draft resolution, and that it will be provided to other districts as implementation of the Act continues next year.

School Board Resolution, Nashville
http://www.mnps.org/Director/Board_folder/Board_NCLB_actions.html
September 2003


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