Duncan Joins Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Superintendent Jerry Weast for Community Forum

When it comes to reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), “we have to raise the bar,” Secretary Duncan told a group of parents, students, teachers and community leaders earlier last week at a town hall meeting at John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools Jerry Weast and Kennedy Principal Eric Minus joined the Secretary at the event where participants weighed in on how decision makers at the local, state and federal level can strengthen our educational system and prepare all students to be college and career ready.

Participants in the town hall meeting discussed several issues such as the importance of a well-rounded curriculum, ways to effectively engage parents in schools, and the role of testing and its emphasis in schools. One participant asked “what was best about the current law and what absolutely had to change” for us to improve and succeed.  Duncan stated that the current law has been successful in unmasking racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps, but that overall the current law is far too punitive with too many ways for schools to be labeled failures and no incentives for schools to strive for excellence.

Secretary Duncan noted that the Obama Administration is committed to fixing No Child Left Behind and replacing it with an ESEA reauthorization that is fair and flexible.  In March, President Obama called on Congress to fix NCLB this year, saying, “let’s seize this education moment. Let’s fix No Child Left Behind.”

For more information on the administration’s proposal to fix NCLB, read A Blueprint for Reform.

You can also see photos and view a video from the John F. Kennedy town hall meeting.