The Senate passed an overhaul of the federal No Child Left Behind act on Thursday. Annual testing will still be required in most grades, but the federal government will have less of a role in how those tests are used to hold schools accountable.
Unlike the version passed in the House earlier this month, the bill passed in the Senate had strong bipartisan support. Now negotiators will try to reconcile the two.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says part of the focus of reform should be eliminating redundancies in test taking for students.
Says Duncan, “I always remind people that when I led the Chicago public schools, we were taking the Illinois state test — which made sense — but for some reason, our students were also taking the Iowa tests, which didn’t make sense to me.”
He says flaws in No Child Left Behind had to do with where it placed its priorities: “What it got fundamentally wrong is it was very, very loose on goals — so you had 50 different states, 50 different standards — but very prescriptive on how you get there.”
Click the media player above to hear Marketplace’s Amy Scott in conversation with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
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