Senators Join Duncan to Discuss Fixing No Child Left Behind

Secretary Duncan was joined by by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) in a national press call on January 26. The Senators, who currently serve on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which Harkin chairs, called for fixing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, commonly known as No Child Left Behind.

Listen to the call. Audio icon Read the transcript.


  1. I do not feel it is appropriate for children with severe disabilities to be included in the No Child Left Behind testing. It is absurb what the testing includes for these student. Is anybody in politics aware of what is being asked of students who are severly disabled?

  2. My grandchildren need to have a world class education and the Obama Administration promises this. But, what about neighborhoods that are still subject to drugs and violence? Surely, education can’t be provided in a vacuum and there has to be some kind of bridges built between school based programs that focus on drug education and ridding neighborhoods of crime. In the low-income communities of Urban and Rural America this is really a challenge and it’s not rhetoric! Currently, the Blueprint for Education Reform doesn’t mention the word parents enough to make me feel assure that there’s going to be any significant steps taken towards “parent empowerment.”
    Parents are integral towards coming up with the solution of how the nation can salvage its public school system and transform it into excellence. Resources need to be expanded toward empowering parents. What can be done about this dilemma?

  3. I believe that we should fundamentally change the approach towards educating students in middle school. In most states the standards contain the the 3 Rs, however, the assessment from one grade to another is not the best. In high school most students begin taking thier graduation test during their junior year and have up to 5 attempts to pass before graduation. Middle school and elementary students have only two attempts. and the second attempt takes up the last 2 weeks of school. Therefore middle schools don’t have the transition period which is needed.

    Why not have middle school students take the test in the 7th Grade to ensure that they are on grade level and require them to earn a certain number of credits similar to high school students in order to be promoted to high school.

    This will make students pay more attention in class and really attempt to pass all of their classes in middle school. The Team concept, where a group of kids follow each other to every class all day every school day should die.

    Make middle school more of a transition step than a constant adjustment students never use again.

  4. My children are in primary school. My concern is, are they getting what they need to be a future sucess? No. Because they spend a copious amount of time taking state tests. I lose sleep wondering if I should downsize to low income housing to afford private school, to allow them the same education the political/CEO’s provide their kids, and I’m a nures. I wonder if moving to a state other than SC would be better for them. Right now, all I can do is be involved, interact with their teachers, provide encouragement and read to them. Is that enough? I pray. I’m affraid that with No Child Left Behind being changed, the children who do have disabilities (one of mine maybe) will once again be ostrasized to ‘special ed’ destroying them mentally. I worry that leaving disabled kids in the class will slow down the education of nondisabled kids. What’s the answer? Better income for teacher’s is one. teacher assistance for those lagging is incentives to the schools is another but not at the expense of ‘disabled’ kids being pushed out to make the ‘numbers’ look better. The future of our country is in my childrens hands and if you don’t fix the educational system now my children and many others will not know how to run the country and may continue selling off to China as is being done now! It should be required, that all teachers make the same pay regardless of where they work. We need to level the playing field. Stop forcing ‘great’ eduated teachers into private schools to get the money they deserve. I want to buy a house and not have to worry if the school is good, safe or if it has the necessary funds to provide my children the eduactional tools they deserve. I want to buy a house and know that know matter where we live they are getting the same education as the neighborhood with the multi million dollar homes. If you continue to seperate and segragate by income, you will continue to have anger and troubled areas. Level the playing field and give kids the education they deserve, in a safe environment. This will keep kids in school, lower drop out rate and clean up neighborhoods. Do it and do it now. If you want people to pay taxes by April 15, or be punished, you should be required to due the job we hired you to do, by next school year, or be fired. We don’t have time to lose. All teachers start out at $$ and each year with achievments they all get % raise..if your classroom excels you get $$ if it falls short you get $ but give the teachers something to strive for. Thank you.

  5. State tests are taking over our teaching day. I believe students need to be more creative. How can we insure that our students have a great public education (standards) but also be able to think out of the standards box?

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