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U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings Visits Tinker Elementary School, Highlights No Child Left Behind at Joint Session of Oklahoma Senate and House Education Committees


U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today addressed a joint session of the Oklahoma House and Senate Education Committees in Oklahoma City, Okla., and discussed how the Federal government can support and facilitate further academic gains made by Oklahoma students under No Child Left Behind. Secretary Spellings applauded Oklahoma’s efforts to increase accountability and discussed opportunities for improvement and innovation under No Child Left Behind.

Secretary Spellings also today visited Tinker Elementary School in Oklahoma City, Okla., and delivered remarks to students, teachers and school officials at a school assembly recognizing the progress Tinker Elementary students have made under No Child Left Behind.

“I commend Oklahoma for narrowing achievement gaps in both math and science and for developing a strong data system to track student progress. The success of students at Tinker Elementary School is a tribute to the progress Oklahoma is making to ensure every child is being challenged and is performing on grade level,” 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, and now is the time to build on that foundation.”

At the joint committee meeting, Secretary Spellings commended Oklahoma as one of the states leading the way in addressing the needs of students with disabilities. Oklahoma will soon be one of the first five states to submit its proposal for alternative assessments for these students. Secretary Spellings also applauded Oklahoma legislators for taking the step to create a task force to examine how to bring Oklahoma students’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Performance (NAEP) tests more in line with their performance on the Oklahoma state test. At the same time, she challenged Oklahoma to ensure high scores on State tests also reflect high State standards. In addition, she discussed other opportunities for improvement that could help build on Oklahoma’s progress such as adjusting the n-size to ensure students with disabilities and limited English proficiency do not slip through the cracks.

Secretary Spellings also emphasized the need to equip every child with a highly qualified education and that 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; 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 month, 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 Oklahoma, Secretary Spellings will continue the dialogue on No Child Left Behind and priorities for 2008 tomorrow in Texas and next week with trips to Florida and North Carolina.

To view Mapping Oklahoma’s Educational Progress for 2008,
please visit

For Mapping America’s Educational Progress 2008, visit


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