Teresa Shume’s suggestion for improving No Child Left Behind law was so simple yet so far removed from current policy it drew a laugh from the crowd:
“Part of the solution,” she said, “might be less testing.”
The Minnesota State University-Moorhead faculty member was one of about 20 educators and parents who attended a public meeting Thursday to weigh in on potential changes to the federal education law. The event was held by aides for U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who is gathering input around the state in advance of debate on the law early next year.
Dan Solomon, an education policy aide for the senator, said some of the law’s most criticized provisions like its Adequate Yearly Progress measures – and accompanying harsh penalties for schools that fall short – have been tossed out in a bipartisan Senate rewrite of the bill backed by Franken.
The new bill would let states measure student achievement by growth instead of by how many students clear fixed standards – a change lauded at Thursday’s meeting.
“Set the bar too high and no one can jump over it,” said Steve Lindaas, a parent in the district. “Make the bar at an angle and say, see how high you can jump.”
Lindaas also lamented the current law’s focus on getting struggling students to catch up without paying much attention to high achievers. Instead, he said, the law should push all students to maximize their potential and have the funding to back it up.