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Education Secretary Looks Ahead to a Revamped No Child Left Behind

Huffington Post

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says Congress has its best chance since 2009 to fix the No Child Left Behind education law.

The House and Senate have passed different versions of a revised law.

The Republican-backed House bill allows parents to opt out of federal testing requirements and academic standards.

The Senate version retains the annual reading and math tests required under current law but give states latitude on how to use them.

Education Secretary Duncan says he has two other areas he wants addressed in a reauthorized law.

“First of all, we have to have early childhood education in there, nothing is more important," Duncan says. "Secondly, this law has to maintain its focus on equity in working to make sure all students, especially disadvantaged students, have a real chance to get a great education.”

Both the House and Senate bills educe federal oversight of education.

But Duncan says the national government has a role to play in keeping states accountable and education requirements high.

“Because so many states have reduced, have dummied down their standards, we have way too high a percentage of high school graduates taking non-credit-bearing classes in college,” he says.

​The secretary concluded a two-day swing through Iowa, where he focused on college affordability in Des Moines and teacher training in Cedar Rapids.
Duncan spent part of Tuesday with Iowa Education Director Ryan Wise, who last week called No Child Left Behind “fundamentally flawed.”