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NEWS RELEASES 2006-07 :: JUNE 12, 2007


State Board of Education members and key leaders from the NC Department of Public Instruction will take a bus ride to Washington, D.C. tomorrow to meet with members of the state's Congressional delegation and top U.S. Department of Education staff. The message they carry with them is clear: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) needs improvements if it is to live up to its name.

The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act - known as NCLB since the 2001 reauthorization - is up for renewal in Congress this year, offering an ideal opportunity to make much-needed improvements. State Board members are concerned that if Congress doesn't act now on reauthorization, the legislation may not move before the August recess and then it could be further delayed by the 2008 congressional and presidential elections.

Board members and education leaders in North Carolina acknowledge that NCLB has highlighted many important shortcomings in the country's K-12 education, but the law, which accounts for approximately 8 percent of the funds that support North Carolina public schools, has taken on a significance that is out of proportion to the resources it provides.

In a white paper, North Carolina education leaders described the law's heavy bureaucratic emphasis, noting it overemphasizes technical provisions, favors short-term approaches instead of sustainable reforms, focuses on teaching credentials rather than teaching quality, and requires monitoring and technical assistance that exceed the resources provided.

"NCLB needs to be all about helping schools to improve so that students learn more," said State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee. "What it actually does in practice is to force us to spend a lot of time counting and measuring things. In some cases, the law actually makes it more difficult for some schools to improve."

State Superintendent June Atkinson agreed with Lee's comments adding, "We believe in being accountable for performance, but we feel that there are better and more appropriate ways to do that than in the all-or-nothing way that NCLB measures schools."

The Board plans to make a number of recommendations on how NCLB could be reauthorized and improved to the North Carolina Congressional delegation and U.S. Department of Education staff. The recommendations address state authority and flexibility, accountability determinations/Adequate Yearly Progress, school choice and supplemental educational services, support for schools and districts/technical assistance, special populations and teacher quality.

The complete list of the Board's recommendations is available on the Department of Public Instruction's Web site at For more information, please contact the Communications Division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.