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Changes to NCLB Still Require Innovation for Student Engagement

January 17th, 2012 · No Comments

Angela Dye’s response to Arne Duncan @

This post written by the Nation’s Secretary of Education provides a fair assessment of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The strength of the legislation is that it exposes the achievement gap between students of color and of various income levels, English-proficiency levels, and disabilities.

The challenge to the law is that it limits “achievement” to a standardized test. By restricting knowing to what can be remembered and regurgitated, knowledge that can be applied in meaningful ways (relating to the individual learner and the community in which he/she lives) is limited.

While the national government and state leaders are trying to come together to create a way for state education departments to define instruction that is rigorous and relevant, school leaders need to think critically about how to engage students in new systems who have been disenfranchised by older systems.

As already stated, NCLB opens the assessment of learning and achievement to reveal the progress of all learners, especially those who have been historically ignored. Yet, we have not identified an instructional framework that is successful at engaging all learners (at least not at consistent levels).

I would like to urge this conversation to continue and for school leaders and community members to ask tough questions about the unique needs of various student demographics that cannot be addressed by a standardized curriculum. Regardless of the standards, the policies, and even the curriculum, an instructional framework is needed that embraces the psychosocial dimensions of the whole child and effectively connects them to state required standards and assessments.

Take a look at our programs that promote high levels of student engagement:

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