"Small But Mighty Group of Teachers" Urge Senate to Include Accountability AND Action in ESEA

Alice Johnson Cain, Vice President for Federal and State Policy at Teach Plus, makes a convincing case for why the U.S. Senate must include action as well as accountability in a newly-authorized ESEA. While leaders of NEA, she says,  correctly point out that NCLB’s interventions in failing schools was overly punitive and prescriptive, a “small but mighty group of teachers” are “echoing the civil rights community”  in calling for revisions in the current draft because “it doesn’t fulfill its mission as a civil rights law.  Cain explains,
The Senate is on the verge of throwing out the hammer, scalpel and rest of the toolbox by stripping the law of meaningful accountability. The fatal flaw with the Senate bill to replace NCLB, the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), is that a school can gather data that shows year after year -- or decade after decade -- that, for example, its Hispanic fourth graders are struggling, but no steps have to be taken, ever, to address the problem. 
At a recent Congressional briefing, Los Angeles teacher Chris Hofmann, who has a record of excellence in a school where 96% of the students are Latino and 90% qualify for free and reduced meals, explained: 
The current legislation is akin to saying I have to give tests, identify the students who can't read, put them over in the corner, say they need help and that's it. We wouldn't accept that from our teachers, and we shouldn't accept that from our states.
ECAA should not only require states to identify schools 'in need of locally-determined intervention'; it should also require states to act on it. Unless we make it clear that some action is necessary, I am worried that some schools and some students in some states won't get the help they desperately need.
NEA's demand for inaction is misguided, Cain concludes. Instead, Senators should heed “advice from effective teachers who spend their days with the students ESEA was designed to help [because this] is the best way Congress could honor the law's civil rights legacy.”

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