U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Governor Chris Gregoire Host Education Roundtable, Highlight No Child Left Behind in Olympia, Washington
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire today hosted an education policy roundtable with state legislators, educators and business leaders at Roosevelt Elementary School in Olympia, Wash. In her opening remarks, Secretary Spellings commended Governor Gregoire for Washington’s successes under No Child Left Behind and understanding the importance of math and science learning if Washington wants to continue to lead in industries such as aeronautics, high-tech and bio-tech in today’s globally competitive world.
“Washington is a leader in the competitiveness movement and in preparing students for college and the workforce. Now it’s time to build on the momentum that No Child Left Behind helped to generate,” said Secretary Spellings. “Six years after No Child Left Behind changed the education game in this nation, we can be proud of where it has brought us. The law’s core principles now guide our conversation on education. Now all 50 states and the District of Columbia have assessment systems, report disaggregated data and target federal resources to serve their neediest students.”
At the roundtable, Secretary Spellings discussed a new tool recently released by the U.S. Department of Education, Mapping Washington’s Educational Progress 2008, which provides a comparative look at the State’s key No Child Left Behind indicators. Washington is making gains under No Child Left Behind, with an increasing number of students proficient in math in grades three through eight. The recent Nation’s Report Card shows Washington’s average fourth grade math and reading scores are above the national average. In addition, over 99 percent of its classes are taught by a highly qualified teacher.
Secretary Spellings also noted opportunities for improvement that could help build on Washington’s progress such as the need to be accountable for all students and the State requiring only two years of math and science for graduation. In addition, Washington does not currently participate in the growth model pilot and is one of only ten states with no charter school law.
During her visit, Secretary Spellings also announced a $1.9 million School Improvement Grant for Washington to help turn around low-performing schools. This grant will help Washington take a greater role in developing and delivering comprehensive leadership and technical assistance to help reform schools and districts that are not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
Secretary Spellings also emphasized the need to equip every child with a highly qualified education and as a nation we must find ways to address now consensus areas such as growth models to allow schools to measure individual student performance over time; a more nuanced accountability system to distinguish between schools missing performance goals across the board and those who come within range; to take more aggressive steps to address and improve high school graduation rates; ensure that more eligible students are taking advantage of free tutoring; and do a better job of recruiting and preparing good teachers and getting them in to schools where they are needed most.
Last week, Secretary Spellings marked the sixth anniversary of No Child Left Behind with President Bush in Chicago, where he charged her with visiting States to discuss how the Federal government can work together with States to help them move forward under No Child Left Behind. Following her visit to Wash., Secretary Spellings this week will continue the dialogue on No Child Left Behind and priorities for 2008 with visits to Salem and Portland, Ore., and San Diego, Calif.
To view Mapping Washington’s Educational Progress 2008, please visit http://www.ed.gov/nclb/accountability/results/progress/wa.html.
For Mapping America’s Educational Progress 2008, visit http://www.ed.gov/nclb/accountability/results/progress/nation.html.
For more information on School Improvement grants, please visit http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/stateletters/schimpfundappl.pdf.
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