Michigan Education Association

An interview about Adequate Yearly Progress with Bob Harris, a consultant in MEA's Professional Development and Human Rights Department

"No Child Left Behind" Act / ESEA

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), renamed the "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) Act of 2001, established laudable goals -- high standards and accountability for the learning of all children, regardless of their background or ability.

However, the law must be fundamentally improved and federal lawmakers need to provide adequate funding if NCLB is to achieve it’s goal. Congress has to reauthorize the legislation in 2007, offering an opportunity to make it more workable and more responsive to the real needs of children.

NEA is in the forefront of the effort to improve the federal education law. NEA has developed a comprehensive “Positive Agenda for the ESEA Reauthorization” that spells out detailed recommendations to make the law better. Read more at NEA's NCLB home page.

Michigan part of pilot program to measure student academic growth

LANSING – Michigan is one of 10 states approved to participate in a national pilot program that will take into consideration a student’s academic progress over time to help determine whether their school makes Adequate Yearly Progress.

The U.S. Department of Education approved Michigan’s application to participate in a growth model pilot, a decision that allows the state to identify students “on track” toward proficiency within three years. The change means that students who show sufficient progress – but who are not yet proficient – will not count against a school’s AYP status.

As a result, a modest number of schools in 2007-08 that had not made AYP under the old formula made sufficient progress to avoid penalties under the law.

The growth model calculations apply only to grades four through eight for the English Language Arts and math tests in the Michigan Educational Assessment Program and MI-Access tests. Those are the only two subjects required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act to be tested and used to determine adequate yearly progress.

The other states approved for the pilot program are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee.

Students in some districts eligible for supplemental services

Districts must pay if parents want children to receive extra help

Students in some schools identified as “in need of improvement” are eligible for special tutoring. If a child is eligible, the school district must pay for tutoring, small group, or computer instruction in reading or math. This extra help could be provided before or after school, on weekends or during the summer.

Last year, 28 school districts or public school academies were required to offer supplemental services to students. More than 100 supplemental service providers were approved by the Michigan Department of Education to offer services.

In Grand Rapids, for example, 40 supplemental service providers were approved last year, including Sylvan Learning Center, Kumon Math and Reading Centers and others. Some services were provided at home via the Internet.

The state grades providers – of the 28 Grand Rapids providers, none earned an “A.” Half earned either a “C” or “D,” according to state records.

To learn more about supplemental services and to review the list of approved providers, go to www.michigan.gov/mde, click on Adequate Yearly Progress, and look for Supplemental Educational Services.

NEA finalizes priorities for ESEA reauthorization

NEA finalized its legislative priorities for ESEA reauthorization. "NEA's Top Legislative Priorities for ESEA" sets out the Association's seven priority issues as well as the five that would cause NEA to oppose any bill. These legislative priorities are based on NEA's Positive Agenda for the ESEA Reauthorization.

NEA has also created a shorthand version of our legislative priorities, our "Message to Members of Congress," which groups these legislative priorities into three broad categories:

  1. Use more than test scores to measure student learning and school performance. Include multiple measures of student learning and school effectiveness instead of the current one-day snapshot based solely on standardized tests. Reward progress over time to improve student achievement at all levels. Recognize individual needs of students (special education, ELL).

  2. Reduce class size to help students learn. Restore the class size reduction program.

  3. Increase the number of highly qualified teachers in our schools. Provide financial incentives to teachers who teach in hard-to-staff schools. Allow teachers who have achieved certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to be deemed "highly qualified." Provide flexibility for teachers of multiple subjects, including special education and rural educators.

For more information go to www.nea.org/esea. You can use these guidelines in communications and back-home visits with your members of Congress.

Updated: February 19, 2009 6:27 PM