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Secretary's corner.

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U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (pictured above with members of the STARBASE program at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio during her back-to-school bus tour) addressed the Business Coalition for Student Achievement on Sept. 5, in Washington, D.C., about how the No Child Left Behind Act is working to raise student achievement and accountability in the nation's public schools. She also spoke about the need for Congress to strengthen and reauthorize the law this year. An excerpt of her remarks follows.

"... I've yet to meet a parent who didn't want their child learning on grade level. And thanks to No Child Left Behind, for the first time, families have a right to expect that their child will be performing at or above grade level--by 2014.

"That's seven years from now--plenty of time, especially since we set this goal in January 2002. We're talking about grade-level work. Not nuclear physics--just fundamental, grade-level work....

"The latest results show more than 70 percent of schools met annual progress goals last year. In other words, they're doing it!

"Do we still have room for improvement? Absolutely.... And we can and will do more. My department is already partnering with more than half of the states to make the law more flexible and workable--including finding better ways to measure student progress and help more kids get tutoring....

"At the same time, we must not make the law so 'flexible' that it loses its power or its urgency....

"Everybody knows that the more complicated the system, the easier it is to manipulate or obfuscate or confuse the bottom line. The law already includes reasonable accommodations for children with disabilities, those learning English, and those who start a new school in the middle of the year. But to move from reasonable accommodations to gigantic loopholes is a step in the wrong direction....

"... Instead, I look forward to working with you to fulfill the promise we made five years ago so that not only do we leave no child behind--we make sure every child is moving forward."
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Title Annotation:Margaret Spellings
Publication:The Achiever
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2007
Words:345
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