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American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
NCLB Reauthorization

To better inform the national debate on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reauthorization, ECS collected and synthesized recommendations by national organizations to improve the federal law.

ECS' database is organized around 16 issue areas that captured most recommendations. Some organizations did not offer recommendations for all issues, at least according to our analysis. And several recommendations appear more than once since they applied to multiple issue areas.

The summary and full text of the American Federation of Teachers' (AFT) original recommendations are listed in this report. Please see the main database page for additional reports.

Highlights
Issues addressed: 11 of 16
Adequate Yearly Progress; Assessment, Standards and Curriculum; Consequences and Interventions; Data Systems and Reporting; Early Childhood; English Language Learners; Finance; Students with Disabilities; Supplemental Education Services; Teaching Quality; and Miscellaneous/Overarching.

Issues not addressed: 5 of 16
Capacity, Innovation and Research & Development; High School; Other Programs; School Safety; and School Leadership.

Areas of emphasis
Assessment, Standards and Curriculum; Consequences and Interventions; and Adequate Yearly Progress.

Source:
NCLB – Let’s Get It Right: AFT’s Recommendations for No Child Left Behind (July 2006)


Visit ECS' Database on NCLB Reauthorization main page for more information, explanations and access to organizations' original reports. Please note that ECS plans to expand the database as more information becomes available.

Database Last Updated: July 2007

This database was created and compiled by Mary Fulton, ECS policy analyst.
For questions and comments: 303.299.3679 or mfulton@ecs.org
NCLB Reauthorization : American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
AYP 1 - Summary of Recommendation Give credit for school progress and/or proficiency under AYP.
AYP 1 - Full Recommendation Implement an accountability system that gives credit for progress and/or proficiency.

Rationale
: A system that gives credit for progress, in addition to proficiency, acknowledges the effectiveness of schools that improve even if they fall short of arbitrary proficiency benchmarks. Progress goals should be set at ambitious but attainable levels.
AYP 2 - Summary of Recommendation Distinguish truly struggling schools from those that need limited assistance under AYP.
AYP 2 - Full Recommendation Create levels for making AYP that distinguish truly struggling schools from those that need limited assistance.

Rationale
: A system that distinguishes schools that need a lot of assistance from those that need limited assistance will allow supports and financial resources to be appropriately targeted.
AYP 3 - Summary of Recommendation Require states to develop “learning environment index” for schools and mandate states and districts to address problem areas.
AYP 3 - Full Recommendation Require states to develop a “learning environment index” for all schools and mandate that districts and states address the problem areas identified by the index for schools not making AYP.

Rationale
: Many of the schools not “making AYP” do not have adequate facilities, safe conditions, teacher retention policies, and the financial and professional supports necessary to succeed. The learning environment index should identify and measure teaching and learning conditions in each school that are known to contribute to increased student achievement. Schools that fail to make AYP would be required to show improvement on their learning environment index, and states and districts would be required to provide the resources to ensure that schools address the teaching and learning conditions identified for improvement.
AYP 4 - Summary of Recommendation Offer grants for states to develop common standards, curriculum and assessments for more consistency in proficiency and growth definitions.
AYP 4 - Full Recommendation

Offer grants for voluntary consortia of states to develop common academic standards, curriculum and assessments to provide more consistency in the definition of proficiency and growth across participating states.

Rationale: This initiative would allow states in the consortium to pool their resources and develop appropriate assessments that align with the regular state assessments for English language learners and students with disabilities, as is currently allowed but rarely done due to limited state resources.

AYP 5 - Summary of Recommendation Ensure state accountability systems fairly and accurately measure student progress and achievement.
AYP 5 - Full Recommendation

Ensure that state accountability systems are fair and accurate measures of student progress and achievement.

Rationale: Currently, states submit accountability plans and assert that the state standards are rigorous and the tests are valid, reliable, and aligned to the standards and curriculum. They use various methods and statistical procedures to set cut scores and to determine if schools and districts have made AYP. This process lacks transparency, and, as some states are granted waivers or other allowances while others are not, it also lacks credibility. A study of state accountability system, including standards, curriculum, and assessments, by a group such as the National Academy of Science, would strengthen the enterprise and provide credibility to the system.

AYP 6 - Summary of Recommendation Maintain disaggregated student achievement reports, but change numerous ways to fail and only one way to “make” AYP.
AYP 6 - Full Recommendation Maintain reporting on student achievement by subgroup without giving schools numerous ways to fail and only one way to “make” AYP.
Assessment, Standards and Curriculum (ASC)
ASC 1 - Summary of Recommendation Prohibit unnecessary and duplicative student testing.
ASC 1 - Full Recommendation

Prohibit unnecessary and duplicative student testing.

Rationale: States and districts should be required to audit their testing programs to prohibit them from layering unnecessary and duplicative tests on schools. Too much instructional time in classrooms is taken up by testing that is redundant or fails to yield timely or useful information.

ASC 2 - Summary of Recommendation Reduce schools’ exclusive focus on reading and math.
ASC 2 - Full Recommendation

Reduce schools’ exclusive focus on reading and math.

Rationale: Many districts are reporting a narrowing of the curriculum to only reading and math. Much of the extended time for reading and math instruction is devoted to test preparation drill instead of high quality instruction. If students are very far behind, they should be provided opportunities for additional intensive math or reading instruction beyond that available during the normal school day or year.

ASC 3 - Summary of Recommendation Offer grants for states to develop common standards, curriculum and assessments for more consistency in proficiency and growth definitions.
ASC 3 - Full Recommendation

Offer grants for voluntary consortia of states to develop common academic standards, curriculum, and assessments to provide more consistency in the definition of proficiency and growth across participating states.

Rationale: This initiative would allow states in the consortium to pool their resources and develop appropriate assessments that align with the regular state assessments for English language learners and students with disabilities, as is currently allowed but rarely done due to limited state resources.

ASC 4 - Summary of Recommendation Ensure state accountability systems fairly and accurately measure student progress and achievement, and are tied to standards and assessments.
ASC 4 - Full Recommendation

Ensure that state accountability systems are fair and accurate measures of student progress and achievement.

Rationale: Currently, states submit accountability plans and assert that the state standards are rigorous and the tests are valid, reliable, and aligned to the standards and curriculum. They use various methods and statistical procedures to set cut scores and to determine if schools and districts have made AYP. This process lacks transparency, and, as some states are granted waivers or other allowances while others are not, it also lacks credibility. A study of state accountability system, including standards, curriculum, and assessments, by a group such as the National Academy of Science, would strengthen the enterprise and provide credibility to the system.

ASC 5 - Summary of Recommendation Allow IEP teams to determine students with disabilities' participation in state assessments.
ASC 5 - Full Recommendation Allow Individual Education Plan (IEP) teams to determine how students with disabilities participate in state academic assessments.
ASC 6 - Summary of Recommendation Require states to develop tests and guidelines for ELL student accommodations.
ASC 6 - Full Recommendation Require states to develop native language and linguistically modified tests and to provide guidelines for school districts on appropriate accommodations for English language learner (ELL) students.
ASC 7 - Summary of Recommendation Ensure state tests are valid and reliable for ELL students when part of accountability.
ASC 7 - Full Recommendation Ensure that state tests are valid and reliable for English language learner (ELL) students when they are included in accountability systems.
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
CIRD 1 - Summary of Recommendation No recommendations identified for this issue.
Consequences and Interventions (CI)
CI 1 - Summary of Recommendation Distinguish truly struggling schools from those that need limited assistance under AYP.
CI 1 - Full Recommendation Create levels for making AYP that distinguish truly struggling schools from those that need limited assistance.

Rationale
: A system that distinguishes schools that need a lot of assistance from those that need limited assistance will allow supports and financial resources to be appropriately targeted.
CI 2 - Summary of Recommendation Provide schools/districts resources and flexibility to implement research-based interventions.
CI 2 - Full Recommendation

Provide schools and districts the resources and the flexibility to implement research-based interventions.

Rationale: The first response to a struggling school should be systemic supportive interventions tailored to the needs of the school and its community. Struggling schools need a broad range of complimentary interventions, and they need research-based professional development, expertise, and supports to fully implement those interventions.

CI 3 - Summary of Recommendation Target school interventions to students who are not proficient.
CI 3 - Full Recommendation

Interventions for schools that have not made AYP should be targeted to those students in the school who are not proficient.

Rationale: Focusing exclusively on those children who are not proficient allows a school to customize its research-based interventions to the students who need them most.

CI 4 - Summary of Recommendation Redesign schools that receive help and continue to decline need.
CI 4 - Full Recommendation

Redesign schools that receive help over the years and continue to decline.

Rationale: After schools have received meaningful support and interventions and continue to decline or not improve, they should be closed in an appropriate manner and redesigned as a new school with a real chance to succeed. School redesign that works has been demonstrated in several places and often include: a longer school day, reduced class size, highly structured curricula and intensive reading and math instruction, targeted small group instruction, salary incentives to attract and keep high quality staff, and regular diagnostic assessment of student progress.

CI 5 - Summary of Recommendation Continue interventions for at least three years after schools exit “in need of improvement” status. 
CI 5 - Full Recommendation

Allow schools to continue to receive interventions for at least three years after they have exited the “in need of improvement” category.

Rationale: Schools are fragile organizations; once they achieve, they need the continued supports to solidify their accomplishments; and, they need the financial resources to continue the successful interventions.

CI 6 - Summary of Recommendation Require states to develop “learning environment index” for schools and mandate states and districts address problem areas.

CI 6 - Full Recommendation Require states to develop a “learning environment index” for all schools and mandate that districts and states address the problem areas identified by the index for schools not making AYP.

Rationale
: Many of the schools not “making AYP” do not have adequate facilities, safe conditions, teacher retention policies, and the financial and professional supports necessary to succeed. The learning environment index should identify and measure teaching and learning conditions in each school that are known to contribute to increased student achievement. Schools that fail to make AYP would be required to show improvement on their learning environment index, and states and districts would be required to provide the resources to ensure that schools address the teaching and learning conditions identified for improvement.
CI 7 - Summary of Recommendation Ensure school interventions are research based and use appropriate remedies to improve student performance.
CI 7 - Full Recommendation Ensure interventions for schools not making AYP are research based and aimed at helping schools to employ the appropriate remedies to improve student performance.
Data Systems and Reporting (DSR)
DSR 1 - Summary of Recommendation Maintain disaggregated student achievement reports, but change numerous ways to fail and only one way to “make” AYP.
DSR 1 - Full Recommendation Maintain reporting on student achievement by subgroup without giving schools numerous ways to fail and only one way to “make” AYP.
Early Childhood Education (ECE)
ECE 1 - Summary of Recommendation Provide universal, high-quality early learning programs to all children.
ECE 1 - Full Recommendation Provide universal, high-quality early childhood programs to all children so they come to school better prepared to learn, with priority consideration given to disadvantaged children.
English Language Learners (ELL)
ELL 1 - Summary of Recommendation Require states to develop tests and guidelines for ELL student accommodations.
ELL 1 - Full Recommendation Require states to develop native language and linguistically modified tests and to provide guidelines for school districts on appropriate accommodations for English language learner (ELL) students.
ELL 2 - Summary of Recommendation Ensure state tests are valid and reliable for ELL students when part of accountability.
ELL 2 - Full Recommendation Ensure that state tests are valid and reliable for English language learner (ELL) students when they are included in accountability systems.
Funding Issues (FI)
FI 1 - Summary of Recommendation Offer grants for states to develop common standards, curriculum and assessments for more consistency in proficiency and growth definitions.
FI 1 - Full Recommendation

Offer grants for voluntary consortia of states to develop common academic standards, curriculum and assessments to provide more consistency in the definition of proficiency and growth across participating states.

Rationale: This initiative would allow states in the consortium to pool their resources and develop appropriate assessments that align with the regular state assessments for English language learners and students with disabilities, as is currently allowed but rarely done due to limited state resources.

FI 2 - Summary of Recommendation Fund NCLB at levels promised in 2001 reauthorization.
FI 2 - Full Recommendation

Fund NCLB at the level promised in the 2001 reauthorization.

Rationale: As of January 2006, the difference between the amount that Congress promised for NCLB programs and what it has actually provided for these programs is $40 billion. Current funding is not enough to serve all eligible students, and many of those students being served are not being served sufficiently, particularly in districts with the greatest concentrations of poverty.

High Schools (HS)
HS 1 - Summary of Recommendation No recommendations identified for this issue.
Other Programs (OP)
OP 1 - Summary of Recommendation No recommendations found for this issue.
Safe Schools (SS)
SS 1 - Summary of Recommendation No recommendations identified for this issue.
School Leadership (SL)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Allow IEP teams to determine students with disabilities' participation in state assessments.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation

Allow Individual Education Plan (IEP) teams to determine how students with disabilities participate in state academic assessments.

Supplemental Education Services (SES)
SES 1 - Summary of Recommendation Require SES providers to use research-based methods, employ NCLB-qualified instructors and follow discrimination rules.
SES 1 - Full Recommendation Require that supplemental educational service providers use research-based methods, employ instructors that meet NCLB’s qualification requirements, and are subject to federal rules regarding discrimination.
Teaching Quality (TQ)
TQ 1 - Summary of Recommendation Require district incentives to attract and retain qualified teachers in low performing schools.
TQ 1 - Full Recommendation

Require districts to develop incentives to attract and retain qualified teachers in low performing schools, including increased compensation, improved working conditions, meaningful professional development, a safe environment and other instructional supports.

Rationale: The data on school district reform shows that teachers are attracted to—and continue to teach in—academically challenged schools when appropriate supports are provided to them.

TQ 2 - Summary of Recommendation Provide research-based professional development and curricular supports for teachers and paraprofessionals.
TQ 2 - Full Recommendation Refocus NCLB on improving the quality of instruction by incorporating research-based professional development and curricular supports for teachers and paraprofessionals.

Rationale: Professional development should be systemic, embedded, teacher-driven, focused on student needs, based on state or district standards, and inclusive of opportunities for practitioner input into its design and delivery.
TQ 3 - Summary of Recommendation Require inservice and preservice training and professional development for paraprofessionals.
TQ 3 - Full Recommendation

Require that paraprofessionals be provided inservice and preservice training and professional development that fully prepares them to support instruction in the classroom.

Rationale: NCLB currently provides three options for meeting education requirements, but fails to mandate the delivery of, or participation in, professional development for paraprofessionals. Thus, recently hired and new paraprofessionals, despite the fact that they have acquired a certain number of college credits or passed a specific test, still do not receive the training and professional development they need.

TQ 4 - Summary of Recommendation Revise highly qualified requirements to consider special education, middle school and other teachers.
TQ 4 - Full Recommendation Revise highly qualified requirements to take into consideration the unique situation of special education teachers and middle school teachers, among others.
Miscellaneous/Overarching (Misc.)
Misc. 1 - Summary of Recommendation Maintain closing achievement gap focus, set challenging but attainable goals and hold all students and schools accountable for results.
Misc. 1 - Full Recommendation

Overarching accountability recommendations by AASA:
a) Maintain focus on closing the achievement gap
b) Set challenging but demonstrably attainable student achievement goals
c) Produce accurate accountability decisions that include all student subgroups and hold large and small schools accountable for their performance.

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