What students must learn to be deemed academically proficient varies drastically from state to state, the United States Department of Education says in a report that shows the specific extent of the differences. The report supports critics who say the political compromise of the federal No Child Left Behind Act has led to a patchwork of educational inequities around the nation, with no common yardstick to determine whether schoolchildren are learning enough. The law requires that all students be brought to proficiency by 2014, but lets each state set its own proficiency standards and choose its own tests to measure achievement.
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EARLIER: More than 50 Republican members of the House and Senate, including Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the House's second-ranking Republican, plan to introduce legislation that could severely undercut the No Child Left Behind Act by allowing states to opt out of its testing mandates. Blunt says he now believes that the burdens and red tape that are part of President Bush's school reform effort are unacceptably onerous. (Washington Post)
A commission has proposed a wide-reaching expansion of the No Child Left Behind law that would for the first time require schools to ensure that all seniors are proficient in reading and math and hold schools accountable for raising test scores in science by 2014. The 230-page bipartisan report also proposes sanctions for teachers with poorly performing students and the creation of new national standards and tests. (Washington Post)