The ESEA: Are You Ready?
WEAC and NEA members must play a pivotal role in shaping
how the new federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act is interpreted,
amended and applied to schools, NEAs ESEA expert said Monday (August
5, 2002) at the 2002 WEAC Summer Academy.
We must take the lead, said Dorothy Harrell.
This is not a time for us to sit back and say this is not going
to work. We need to say, as professionals, this is the way it should be
|Participants in the Emerging Leaders session at Summer Academy employed
a variety of innovative approaches for organizing members to attend
the ESEA update. Above, Melinda Gladney, of Milwaukee, wears a sandwich
board to promote the session, as Peter Bugni, of Northland Pines,
checks it out. |
The new ESEA, which was signed into law last January,
will have a sweeping impact on schools, especially in the areas of student
testing and accountability. But each state is working on detailed plans
for implementing the law, and those details are critical, Harrell said.
It is therefore important that WEAC members be involved
every step of the way and actively work to elect pro-education candidates
in this falls elections because those future public officials will
be making major decisions for years to come on how this law is implemented.
We have to get involved, Harrell said. Congress
says you need to be accountable. Now your message to them is they need
to be accountable. ... Accountability is a two-way street.
Despite the fact that the law is often referred to as
the No Child Left Behind Law, there will be children left behind,
The law, which targets high-poverty schools, requires
that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. It focuses
on required annual reading and math testing in grades 3-8 (beginning in
2005-06) and assurances that all teachers are highly qualified
to teach in their field. The law provided additional funding to achieve
these goals, although many question whether the additional funding is
Each state must set achievement standards for all students
in reading and math, and develop a system of rewards and sanctions for
improving student achievement. Targeted schools will be required to demonstrate
an increase in student performance (referred to in the law as Adequate
Yearly Progress, or AYP) after two years and then every three years after
that, moving toward 100% proficiency in math and reading within 12 years.
There are problems and inconsistencies in the law, Harrell
said, and critical implementation decisions are yet to be made at both
the federal and state level.
In the end, she said, ESEA means NEA
needs member involvement in Campaign 2002 to get the reform right!
For more articles from the Summer Academy, go to
the Members Only site
Posted August 8, 2002