Education Secretary Expects Flexibility in Federal Law

The U.S. Secretary of Education predicts federal education requirements will become more flexible.

Margaret Spellings visited Topeka Wednesday. She met with educators, legislators and businesses leaders. The No Child Left Behind Act, which took effect in 2001, was a major focus of discussions.

"We know we still have room to grow and it's a chance for us to share with her and ask are there other ways we can look at being accountable rather than just looking at one model and just taking a look at test scores," said Kansas Education Commissioner Alexa Posny.

The law requires students to reach poficiency in reading and math by 2014. Spellings expects it will undergo some changes, but says students should still be pushed to achieve.

"There also has to be some catching up, so if they're three grade levels behind we're going to have to pick up the pace," she said. "But that's going to take more time, more resources, a million dollars in school improvement."

Spellings also says efforts to identify dangerous schools under No Child
Left Behind law have not been successful. She says educators, states
and law enforcement agencies have struggled to deal with problems
such as bullying.

States are supposed to designate schools as "persistently dangerous" based upon crime data. But relatively few schools have been given that label. None of Kansas 1,400 schools have been deemed dangerous.

The secretary emphasized that she believes schools remain safe.


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