Better Federal Policies Leading to Better Schools

Marisa Goldstein

Center on Education Policy
February 2010

This short paper is CEP’s take on the reauthorization of ESEA, seeking greater prescription on the front end (standards, testing) and less on the back end (school turnaround efforts)--a bit like Fordham’s own suggestions of a year ago. In particular, they’d keep annual testing in reading and math, as well as the disaggregation of data by subgroup, while scrapping the 2014 proficiency goal and federally mandated sanctions for schools or districts failing to meet AYP. Helpfully, each recommendation is presented in the abstract and then in the more concrete manifestation of ESEA itself i.e., which specific provisions of the law they’d keep, abandon, or change. What’s particularly newsworthy and notable is that CEP’s Jack Jennings, who spent much of his liberal Democratic career staffing the House education committee and who will soon retire from CEP, has sized up the federal role circa 2010 and determined that greater humility is needed. Hurrah for him. Check it out here.