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Rob H.

.....and there's more.


From "NCH Washington Update", from the National Council for History.

"At an informal press conference last week, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings stated that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is "99.9
percent pure", and that "there's not much needed in the way of changes."

Spellings also believes that the federal government "has done about as much" as it
can and all NCLB needs is a little tweaking, others, including some historians, would challenge her assertion.

NCLB has drawn criticism from members of the academic and historical community regarding its lack of attention to subjects such as history,
literature, and the arts. To begin to address the issue from the perspective of historians, teachers and educators, the National Council
for the Social Studies is sponsoring a two-day conference later this month to discuss aspects of the NCLB law in anticipation of its upcoming

The law strives to improve the quality of teachers and provide more control over educational funds on a local level, making it the responsibility of
the state to distribute money where it is most needed. The NCLB also stresses the need for accountability, a principle that is judged through state assessment tests required of every child in primary grade levels. If a school is unable to meet the state's reading and math goals for two
consecutive years, the school is categorized as "failing." Consequently, many educators believe that they are forced to "teach to the test,"
thereby creating a situation where subjects not tested are deemed less important to
teach. The NCLB guidelines require testing in math and reading skills, leaving other subjects such as history out of the equation.

The current debate centers on the lack of attention for history in the classroom. Some historians argue that adding history to the NCLB
required curriculum would effectively ensure that the subject is emphasized in schools. Others believe it may be a mistake to place history under the rigid testing standards; they also assert that standardized testing oftenfails to adequately assess students' knowledge of history and historicalprocesses. One thing that both sides of the debate would agree on,however, is that something must be done to remedy the disappearance of history from the curriculum and lesson plans, an unintended consequence of NCLB and itsnarrow focus."

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