Update and Action on No Child Left Behind Act Reauthorization
Jan. 21, 2008 – Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the federal law that governs the operation of our public school system, was not achieved in 2007. However, that does not diminish the importance of this vital piece of legislation. United Methodist Women encourages members to continue to be advocates for fully-funded public education in their local communities and across the country.
Contact your Congressional representatives about this important law.
Ask Congress to:
- Fully fund the law;
- Set ambitious, yet reachable, goals;
- Reduce reliance on standardized testing;
- End labeling children, blaming teachers and bringing stigmas to schools; and
- Take steps to develop programs that will improve the capacity of every school to serve children.
United Methodist Women advocates significant changes to NCLB in coalition with ecumenical partners and an alliance of 140 national organizations that have signed a Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB.
Use resources from the National Council of Churches of Christ Public Education and Literacy Committee in discussing NCLB. These resources include: Ten Moral Concerns about NCLB, Talking Points and a bulletin insert for Fixing NCLB, and Questions to Ask Congresspersons.
Changes now being discussed by Congress contain some good suggestions, but do not go far enough. NCLB would remain too much a test and punish law, and would remain vastly under funded. As people of faith we are called to share our expectation that Congress address the law's injustices:
- Fully fund NCLB and fully authorize Title I. The federal government must substantially underwrite the costs, especially in districts with diminishing tax bases and exploding needs that serve populations segregated by race and extreme poverty.
- Reduce reliance on one annual standardized test by incorporating multiple measures of achievement including portfolios, teacher made tests, and other indicators such as grade promotion and graduation rates.
- Replace the current system that credits learning only when average group scores reach benchmark targets with a growth model that tracks each student's learning over time.
- Require all schools to match the rate of progress shown by research to be actually achievable, and scrap the unrealistic "all children proficient by 2014" deadline.
- Replace sanctions (that too frequently redirect funds into unregulated, privatized tutoring services) with professional development driven by the needs teachers identify. Build public school capacity by reducing class size, and improving school climate in our poorest schools.
The above list was released Oct. 2, 2007, with appreciation to the NCCC PEL committee, the UCC, and Jan Resseger.
Contacting your Senator or Representative
Call the U.S. Congress switchboard, 202-224-3121, or write a letter to your representative at their district or state office. Check the government section of your local telephone book to find out their local contact information. Often a letter to their district office is received quickly. You could also send an e-mail. If you write a letter to their office in Washington, D.C., use the following:
For your Senator:
The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
For your Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Begin the letters: “Dear Senator (last name) or Dear Representative (last name).” A list of senators can be found at http://www.senate.gov/. A list of representatives can be found at http://www.house.gov/.
State your purpose for making this contact immediately then utilize information pertinent to your position. Use personal examples to make your point. Always be courteous. Try to keep your contact clear and short. Be sure to conclude any contact with: your name, address, city, state and zip code.
If you need assistance in this process, contact United Methodist Women’s Washington D.C. Office: 202-488-5660.
Date posted : Jan. 22, 2008