Today’s Chicago Tribune shines another light on education news, this time with an editorial outlining the shortcomings of recently passed bills to overhaul the No Child Left Behind law. Both the U.S. House and Senate versions that passed those chambers – the Student Success Act and Every Child Achieves Act, respectively – “continue statewide testing regimens that break out results among students by race, income and special needs,” the editorial noted.
One area that is not included in either bill? Accountability for schools that repeatedly fail to educate students.
“Both bills would let states and locacl officials create their own performance standards and goals for schools,” said the editorial board. “And if those schools fell short? Under these bills, the states wouldn’t have to do anything. And the federal government wouldn’t have the authority to challenge them to enforce those standards.”
Illinois, like many other states, received a waiver from some requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, in exchange to undertaking reforms to boost achievement among students. Our state did focus more resources on the worst-performing schools.
It is important for our schools to remain accountable to the students they serve. Congress, in looking to move the ball forward on education, would be taking a big step backward if no accountability measures are included in the final bill. “This federal law ought to enshrine a principle that is taught to every schoolchild,” concluded the Tribune. “Failure has consequences.”