October 19, 2011 | Posted At: 04:16 PM | Author: Alexander Russo | Category: NCLB News
, On Capitol Hill
, Think Tank Mafia
The folks at StudentsFirst sent out an email from Michelle Rhee this morning expressing concern about the teacher evaluation provisions in the Harkin-Enzi draft that was supposed to be considered earlier today: "The legislation sets up an unfair, two-tiered system where only some children would have access to teachers who receive meaningful feedback and are held accountable for their work...[and] would move us in the wrong direction." (see full text below). There's some confusion over whether Rhee signed onto the broader accountability letter from the civil rights groups, reform chiefs, disability advocates, the Chamber, and a couple of reformy groups like TNTP and DFER (see EdWeek about that here). She's not listed as a signatory but I'm hearing that she may have signed on at some point. Either way, it's a good start that Rhee and her organization are getting involved rather than sitting on their hands or saying 'that's federal -- we don't do federal.' Symbolically and practically, reformers are going to have to go wherever the debate happens to be, and lead or be prepared not to be taken very seriously. Most of the rest of the reform crowd -- TFA, KIPP, the Harlem Children's Zone, and Stand For Children -- remain AWOL.
America's students are depending on us to hold their schools accountable and ensure that every child has access to a great education. We need your help to make sure the Senate committee that oversees education doesn't let our students down.
Democratic and Republican leaders put their differences aside a decade ago and passed a landmark education law that emphasized high standards and expectations. We have since learned important lessons about how we can improve No Child Left Behind. But fixing what's wrong with the law can't mean scrapping the essential idea that all kids deserve an equally great education.
Senator Harkin took an important step forward by introducing an NCLB reform bill that required rigorous and fair evaluations of the teachers of all our children. After intense lobbying this past weekend by special interests, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (H.E.L.P.) Committee released a rewrite of the bill removing these important provisions. By removing meaningful evaluations, the country would be taking huge step backward in the effort to reform our schools.
Tell the H.E.L.P. Committee and your Senator that a lack of accountability is simply not acceptable
In requiring that only some educators have meaningful evaluations, the legislation sets up an unfair, two-tiered system where only some children would have access to teachers who receive meaningful feedback and are held accountable for their work.
We've come a long way in education reform. For too long, there has been a focus on the needs of grownups in the system rather than on the needs of kids in our classrooms. That thinking has started to shift, and we have to keep up this momentum. The Senate legislation in its current form would move us in the wrong direction.
Tell the H.E.L.P. Committee that you won't let us go backward:http://studentsfirst.org/reform-NCLB
Founder and CEO, StudentsFirst