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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 17, 2014 at 4:00 PM

No Child Left Behind waiver: Washington should take lead in reforming system

In discussing our state’s loss of the federal waiver under No Child Left Behind, Seattle School Board President Sharon Peaslee puts the issue perfectly: “It’s not the failure of legislators or teachers unions, as some allege. The failure is in rigid federal mandates that don’t make any sense” [“Losing waiver is a wake-up call,” Opinion, May 13).

The reasons the mandates don’t make sense seem so screamingly obvious that it should not be necessary to argue the point at all. But Peaslee does an excellent job of showing what’s wrong with measuring a school’s performance by its students’ scores on a single standardized test. The test doesn’t reflect progress and doesn’t take account of the many factors that might keep 100 percent of a school’s students from passing.

We hope our state’s U.S. senators and representatives are working overtime in Washington, D.C., to make U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan cease and desist from this madness.

As Peaslee suggests, the present mandates should be challenged by “an assessment system that authentically improves teaching and learning.” Our state could and should lead in developing such a system.

Michael and Beret Kischner, Seattle

Comments | More in Education | Topics: federal waiver, Michael and Beret Kischner, No Child Left Behind

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