Senate Democrats

Reid: Congress Has An Opportunity to Improve No Child Left Behind

Washington, DCSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada today released the following statement on the fifth anniversary of the signing of the No Child Left Behind Act. “Five years ago, with the signing of the No Child Left Behind Act, Democrats and Republicans joined President Bush in ushering in a dramatic reform of our nation’s schools. We were hopeful that the increased accountability and performance standards, coupled with a significant increase in the federal investment in education would raise student achievement levels. It is clear, five years later, that changes need to be made. No Child Left Behind has been vastly under funded—by nearly $55 billion since it was first enacted—accountability measures have proven far too punitive, and states have been given little flexibility in implementing the law’s requirements. “Over the last five years, I have met with all of Nevada’s school superintendents, heard from teachers, and talked with parents and students across my state about No Child Left Behind. They all believe in higher standards, increased accountability, and raising student achievement. But, across the board, they expressed concerns with the law. One of their primary concerns is how they’ll cover the additional costs of increased testing without adequate support from the federal government. Many principals also feel that the current law does not give credit to schools that have made strides in student performance. And teachers, who share the goal of raising student achievement, are concerned that the focus on reading and math takes time away from other important subjects. “As Congress considers the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind this year, we have an opportunity to make the law more responsive to the needs of students, teachers, and administrators. As a start, we need to fully fund the law. Then, we need to take a hard look to see what works, what needs fine tuning, and what needs to be fixed. “I am hopeful that the Administration will work with Congress to increase funding levels and make needed changes to the law, so that the promise of No Child Left Behind can be fulfilled.”