WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today participated in a roundtable discussion titled: “Fixing No Child Left Behind: Innovation to Better Meet the Needs of Students.” The roundtable discussion included education leaders from Maryland and across the country who spoke about the importance of reauthorizing theElementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and replacing the failed tenets of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
“In order to out-innovate the rest of the world, we must first out-educate,” Senator Mikulski said. “I’m fighting for jobs and opportunity to help middle class families get ahead, and not just get by. With quality education families can count on, we can help every child – regardless of zip code – get a foothold on the opportunity ladder for a successful future.”
ESEA is the primary source of federal aid to K-12 education. It was first enacted in 1965 and was last reauthorized in 2001 through NCLB. Despite its bipartisan best intentions, NCLB presented a host of problems for schools, students, and educators, including: setting inflexible benchmarks without taking into consideration the different needs of schools and without recognizing student progress; mandating the same federal sanctions for all schools that created a pressure to “teach to the test;” requiring states and schools to adhere to prescriptive, Washington-generated accountability models; and forcing school districts to spend money on activities that did not make sense for all students or schools.