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Funding and No Child Left Behind Act Are Top National Issues for State Boards of Education, New Survey Shows

Ohanian Comment: Too bad state board of education members don't reject NCLB instead of calling for more money with which to implement it.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Providing greater flexibility within the No Child Left Behind Act should be Congress' highest priority this year, according to a poll of state board of education members. 65% of members believe Congress should modify the law. Members ranked increased funding for K-12 programs as the second highest priority for Congress in 2005. Reauthorizing the Perkins vocational education program was the third-ranked priority.

Expanding on the views of the No Child Left Behind Act, state board members overwhelmingly identified the national attention drawn toward closing the achievement gap (57%) and the disaggregation of data (56%) as the most positive effects of the federal reform law. 76% of respondents said their biggest concern about NCLB was the alignment of federal requirements with state policies. Closely trailing behind, 73% of state board members think the capacity of state departments of education to provide assistance to low- performing schools is a major concern.

With regard to federal funding, 63% of state board members are worried or disappointed that sufficient resources are not earmarked for K-12 programs, particularly Title I and special education.

On the topic of high school reform, 37% of members listed a stronger core curriculum, including requiring students to take four years of English and three years each of math and science, as the area most in need of action. 23% said addressing graduation/dropout rates is most important.

More than two-thirds of members ranked the President's proposal to intervene with at-risk 8th-graders and the remediation of low-performing students as the most favored federal strategies. Only 6% of members thought expanding NCLB-like testing into grades 9-11 was among the most important reforms proposed by the President. 71% of members have reservations or outright opposition to shifting federal funds previously spent on Perkins to any new high school reform package.

Asked to assign a letter grade to their state's public education system, 70% of state board members gave their schools either an A (outstanding) or B (above average). 21% awarded a C (average), while 9% gave a D (below average).

Brenda Welburn, NASBE Executive Director, said, "clearly state board members remain focused on making the No Child Left Behind Act a success, and their biggest concern is effectively aligning state reforms with federal requirements. State board members are also overwhelmingly concerned that Congress provide sufficient resources to ensure the promise of NCLB's reforms are put into practice. Federal investments in the infrastructure of state departments of education to help low-performing schools will go a long way toward realizing the potential of NCLB," said Welburn.

State board of education members are convening on March 10-11 for their national legislative conference at the Hilton Old Town Hotel, 1787 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia.

NASBE, http://www.nasbe.org/, represents America's state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking; advocate equality of access to educational opportunity; promote excellence in the education of all students; and assure responsible lay governance of education.

Source: National Association of State Boards of Education

CONTACT: David Griffith of National Association of State Boards of
Education, +1-703-684-4000, ext. 107, or +1-301-792-2267

Web site: http://www.nasbe.org

— PRNewswire


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