June 18, 2011

State awaits relief from No Child Left Behind

With stiff school sanctions looming, Maine looks for a waiver if Congress doesn't rewrite the law by fall.

By JASON SINGER Staff Writer

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A master's degree doesn't necessarily make someone a great teacher, Bowen said. Educators with less schooling can be great teachers who get their students to rise to unexpected levels.

The Council of Chief State School Officers would like to measure both teachers and students by using a "growth model," which determines how much a child progresses from the beginning of the school year to the end, Bowen said.

Bowen compared the "growth model" to a visit to the pediatrician.

When a child goes to a pediatrician, the doctor tells the child how much he has grown in the past year, and how he compares with other children of a similar age.

That kind of dual measurement makes sense in education, Bowen said. Schools should measure students by the progress they make on a yearly basis, without losing sight of where they should be compared with other children.

Schools now compare students only with their peers, he said, and do it only one day a year, using one test.

Like Duncan, Bowen said he hopes Congress will pass a reworked and better version of No Child Left Behind and this will be a moot issue.

If Congress doesn't act, the Obama administration will make changes on its own, Duncan said.

"We're not going to sit here and do nothing," he said. "Our first priority is to have Congress rewrite the law. If that doesn't get done, we have the obligation to provide relief in exchange for reform."

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Jason Singer can be reached at 791-6437 or at:



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