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government relations


ESEA Overhauling No Child Left Behind Julie Brown, WMEA State Chair, Government Relations


The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was so named be- cause it intended to close the achieve- ment gap in schools so that no child was “left behind.” The vehicles to measure whether or not these


goals were being reached have been the standardized tests that students in public schools across the country are mandated to take each year. The act also requires all states to develop assessments at certain points in students’ education in order to receive federal funding for schools.


The act passed at the beginning of George W. Bush’s first term as President and


WISCONSIN


received overwhelming bi-partisan sup- port. Since its inception, however, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has been met with very real questions regarding its impact on schools in low-economic areas, students with special needs and students where English is not their first and primary language. Other critics of NCLB claim that it forces teachers to “teach to the test.” Public calls in Washington D.C. to reform NCLB began as early as 2004 and started to gain momentum in 2007.


This fall, there was new bi-partisan legis- lation introduced in Washington D.C. to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and, essentially, overhaul NCLB. This effort has been primarily led by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee


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Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY). This new legislation will dramatically change the way schools are assessed and funded.


A big plus for music education in our country with this new legislation is that the arts remain a core academic subject under Chairman Harkin’s plan for ESEA. This is something that National Association for Music Education (NAfME – formerly MENC) lobbied hard for. Through the use of non-profit managed grants, the importance of increasing accessibility to the arts for individuals with disabilities funding is stressed. Also included is the need to increase time for the arts as part of a “well-rounded” education.


wyso.music.wisc.edu Auditions for the 2012-2013 Season


Begin in April!


608.263.3320 Membership materials available at:


Applications due March 10


One negative in Chairman Harkin’s plan is that The Arts in Education funding pool appears to have been dismantled and replaced with a new, much more broadly defined “well-rounded” pool – Title IV of the bill. NAfME supports Arts in Educa- tion funding, and this move will make it more difficult for arts programs to garner consistent federal support. NAfME will continue to advocate alongside the greater arts community to reinstate a designated federal funding pot for the arts.


“Providing Excellence in Musical Opportunities”


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The biggest and most noticeable differ- ence between NCLB and ESEA is that Adequate Yearly Progress, the system of accountability that functioned as the pulse of No Child Left Behind and has been responsible for declaring over 80 percent of the nation’s schools “fail- ing,” would no longer exist. In its place would be a new requirement mandating that states ensure all students are mak- ing “continuous improvement” toward student outcomes. States would be asked to develop and submit their accountability plans to the U.S. Secretary of Education for review. Submitted plans would be expected to address both achievement- gap schools and the lowest-performing schools. Chairman Harkin has stated that


January 2012


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