A continuation of our predictions of big issues for 2011...
Each year we ask the same question: Will Congress reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, aka No Child Left Behind? And each year, hopes have been dashed. There’s plenty of room for doubt this year too, but it’s not inconceivable. Education reform could become one issue that the Republicans and Democrats embrace in attempts to show some bi-partisanship. (Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, for example, pushed for ESEA reauthorization in an op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, the same day that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan argued for it in The Washington Post.)
If ESEA is on the table, early education should be part of the centerpiece. Fifteen national groups, including the Early Education Initiative here at New America, came together last year to recommend changes to the law. Research continues to show how much children benefit from high-quality, aligned programs in pre-k, kindergarten, first, second and third grade. For too long, these grades have been given short shrift in policymaking – in part because there are no state-level standardized tests in these grades. But useful data could, and should, be collected in other ways. (For example, see our description of teacher evaluation tools below.)
Up Next: Hot Spot #3: Head Start Re-Competition