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National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
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 National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) original recommendations are listed in this report. Please see the main database page for additional reports.

Highlights
Issues addressed: 12 of 16
Adequate Yearly Progress; Assessment, Standards and Curriculum; Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development; Consequences and Interventions; Data Systems and Reporting; English Language Learners; Finance; High Schools; Students with Disabilities; Supplemental Education Services; Teaching Quality; and Miscellaneous/Overarching. 

Issues not addressed: 4 of 16
Early Childhood; Other Programs; Safe Schools; and School Leadership.

Areas of emphasis
Adequate Yearly Progress; Miscellaneous/Overarching; and Finance.

Source:
Delivering the Promise: State Recommendations for Improving No Child Left Behind (February 2005)


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 : National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
AYP 1 - Summary of Recommendation Ensure federal programs emphasize narrowing achievement gaps and achieving proficiency, and not intrude on state processes. Acknowledge and reward state accountability plans that meet NCLB spirit and goals.
AYP 1 - Full Recommendation Ensure federal programs emphasize results in narrowing the achievement gap and achieving proficiency, and not intrude on state processes. The U.S. Department of Education should fully utilize the waiver authority granted in NCLB to acknowledge and reward accountability plans that meet the spirit and broad goals of the law.
AYP 2 - Summary of Recommendation Ensure state accountability plan approvals, amendments and waivers are uniform, transparent, deliberate, prompt and made public.
AYP 2 - Full Recommendation Ensure the U.S. Department of Education process for state accountability plan approval and amendment is uniform, transparent, deliberate and prompt, with requests for exceptions and waivers, both those approved and denied, promptly made public, published and explained in writing. Options granted to any state should be published as notice to and guidance for the benefit of all states.
AYP 3 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to use student growth approach to calculate AYP.
AYP 3 - Full Recommendation Allow states to use a value-added, or student-growth, approach in their accountability plans.

A state plan would meet the requirements of NCLB provided it includes benchmarks to measure increased achievement and disaggregates by subgroups. Not only would this be a more accurate measure of school and student performance, but it would allow states to focus limited resources on the students and schools most in need. (NCLB has a mechanism for recognizing significant growth within a subgroup that falls short of proficiency; however, this mechanism is limited in its application.)
AYP 4 - Summary of Recommendation Allow use of multiple measures to evaluate performance for AYP. 
AYP 4 - Full Recommendation Allow states to use multiple measures in addition to standardized tests to evaluate school and student performance to determine AYP. States should have the option to determine the measures used and the weight of each measure.
AYP 5 - Summary of Recommendation Publicize states' option to average two or three years of data to calculate percentage of students scoring proficient and identify schools in need of improvement.
AYP 5 - Full Recommendation Require U.S. Department of Education to publicize to all states the option of averaging two or three years of data when calculating the percentage of students scoring proficient for purposes of identifying schools for improvement.
AYP 6 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to use their accountability system to comply with spirit of NCLB. Base systems on realistic, not aspirational proficiency goals.
AYP 6 - Full Recommendation Allow states to use their accountability system to comply with the spirit of NCLB. These systems should be based on realistic academic goals and not on the broad aspirational proficiency goals of NCLB.
AYP 7 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to identify schools for improvement only after AYP targets in same subjects and subgroup are missed for two consecutive years. Require Education Department to clarify option to identify schools only after miss AYP targets in same subject in two consecutive years.
AYP 7 - Full Recommendation Allow states to identify schools for improvement only after the AYP targets in the same subjects and subgroup are missed for two consecutive years. The Education Department should clarify that all states have the option to identify schools only after they miss the AYP targets in the same subject in two consecutive years. Some states have taken advantage of this, while other states are unaware of this option. The department also should analyze and report on the effects of this option on the ability of schools, districts and states to comply with AYP.
AYP 8 - Summary of Recommendation Ensure states know option of identifying districts as “in need of improvement” only when they miss AYP in same subject across multiple grade spans for two consecutive years.

AYP 8 - Full Recommendation Ensure the U.S. Department of Education authorizes all states to identify districts as being “in need of improvement” only when they do not make AYP in the same subject across multiple grade spans for two consecutive years.

AYP 9 - Summary of Recommendation Include students in multiple subgroups for reporting diagnostic data, but in smallest subgroup they belong for AYP purposes.

AYP 9 - Full Recommendation Ensure that schools, districts and states include multiple subgroup identification when reporting student data for diagnostics. When calculating AYP, however, the scores of students with multiple subgroup identifications should be included in the smallest subgroup of which they are a part.
AYP 10 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to develop basis for determining school/district assessment participation rates for AYP purposes. For example, based on average daily attendance.

AYP 10 - Full Recommendation Provide states with flexibility in their accountability plan to establish a formula for the participation rate of schools and districts. This formula could use the average daily membership (ADM) and/or the average daily attendance (ADA) as the basis for an appropriate participation rate for testing purposes. Any formula included in a plan should hold schools accountable to an accurate representation of student attendance and recognize the differing definition of an academic year.
AYP 11 - Summary of Recommendation Afford states flexibility with AYP graduation rate for students pursuing alternative paths to diploma and for including students with disabilities.
AYP 11 - Full Recommendation Afford states the flexibility to include students in their AYP graduation rate who are successfully pursuing alternative paths that are similar in rigor to a high school diploma and provide more flexibility in how students with disabilities are included in graduation rates.
AYP 12 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to set separate starting points and AYP projection paths for students with disabilities.
AYP 12 - Full Recommendation Allow states to set separate starting points and AYP projection paths for students with disabilities. This will acknowledge that “gap” kids do not meet the definition of students with severe disabilities, nor are they appropriate candidates for regular assessments and standards.
AYP 13 - Summary of Recommendation Publicize states' option of setting different “n” sizes for student subgroups, such as students with disabilities, for AYP and reporting purposes.
AYP 13 - Full Recommendation Ensure Education Department publicizes to states the option of setting a different “n” size — the minimum number of students needed to establish a subgroup in a school for reporting purposes. Some state plans have acknowledged the difficulty disabled students will have in meeting AYP and have increased their “n” size so fewer schools are required to meet the AYP proficiency standards for this subgroup. This will reduce the number of schools that miss AYP due solely to this subgroup.
AYP 14 - Summary of Recommendation

Give states flexibility to determine when to hold schools accountable for including ELL students in AYP.

AYP 14 - Full Recommendation

Provide states with the flexibility to determine when to hold schools accountable for including English language learner (ELL) students in AYP calculations.

AYP 15 - Summary of Recommendation Publicize states' option of setting different “n” sizes for ELL student subgroups for AYP purposes.
AYP 15 - Full Recommendation Ensure Education Department publicizes the option for states to set a different “n” size — the minimum number of students needed to establish a subgroup in a school for reporting purposes — for English language learner (ELL) students. This option has been made available to some states with respect to students with disabilities and also should be available to the states for students of limited English proficiency.
AYP 16 - Summary of Recommendation Reevaluate 100% proficiency expectation for all students under AYP. This goal is not achievable and places states at risk of litigation.
AYP 16 - Full Recommendation Reevaluate the expectations placed on states to reach 100% proficiency as measured by adequate yearly progress (AYP). Although this is a laudable goal, under the current structure of AYP, it is not achievable and will put states at constant risk of litigation for not providing adequate resources to meet the NCLB proficiency goals.
Assessment, Standards and Curriculum (ASC)
ASC 1 - Summary of Recommendation Recognize IDEA takes precedence over NCLB for students with disabilities. Allow states to use IEPs to determine appropriate curriculum, standards and assessments for students with disabilities.
ASC 1 - Full Recommendation Recognize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as the prevailing federal law regarding students with disabilities. It should take precedence over NCLB. States should be allowed to use Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to determine an appropriate curriculum, standards and assessment system for students with disabilities.
ASC 2 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to determine percentage of students with disabilities for whom out-of-level standards and tests are appropriate, based on IEPs.

ASC 2 - Full Recommendation Allow states to determine the percentage of the special education population that would be best educated according to out-of-level standards and tested accordingly, based on Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Districts should be able to petition the state if they need to exceed the exemption level. Regardless of where this exemption level is set and in recognition that the special education population is not uniformly dispersed across states and school districts, these decisions should be made at the discretion of states.
ASC 3 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to determine when to use native-language or English-only tests for ELL students.
ASC 3 - Full Recommendation Provide states flexibility to determine when to administer native-language tests to English language learner (ELL) students and when to use English-only tests.
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
CIRD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Strengthen Education Department's role and investment in collecting diagnostic data and providing scientifically based research to close achievement gaps.
CIRD 1 - Full Recommendation Ensure the Education Department fulfills its role as a national center for diagnostic data collection and scientifically based research that helps states address and eliminate the achievement gap. The department should enhance its role as a partner by dedicating more resources to research.
Consequences and Interventions (CI)
CI 1 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to decide order of interventions for schools “in need of improvement,” for example, offering SES before choice.
CI 1 - Full Recommendation Allow states to decide the order of interventions provided when a school is identified as being “in need of improvement.” For example, providing choice as the first intervention service may not be the best approach for all students. Supplemental services may be a more appropriate initial intervention.
CI 2 - Summary of Recommendation Grant states flexibility when counting transfer students in receiving school’s AYP calculations, allowing more time to improve student performance.
CI 2 - Full Recommendation Grant states more flexibility when counting transfer students in the receiving school’s AYP calculations. This will allow receiving schools the chance to improve the student’s performance before the school is held accountable for that student to make AYP.
CI 3 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to focus NCLB intervention funds on students most in need and redirect unused Title I funds for other disadvantaged student services.   

CI 3 - Full Recommendation Allow states to change the way they provide intervention services so that their NCLB money is focused on the students most in need. Schools should be required to use their Title I funds to provide intervention services to failing subgroup(s) and low-income students only. If these resources are not needed for the intervention services prescribed by the law, states should be allowed to redirect those resources to other activities that serve disadvantaged students. This would require the federal government to change the requirements for state set-asides of Title I money for transportation and supplemental services.
CI 4 - Summary of Recommendation Permit states to determine order of consequences for schools, especially for rural and urban schools where options may be limited.
CI 4 - Full Recommendation Permit states to determine the sequence of consequences offered for schools in need of improvement, especially for rural and urban schools where choices and providers may be limited.

Flexibility in assigning consequences is especially important in urban and rural areas. Decisions about consequences must be decentralized so that decision making is the responsibility of the level of government closest to, most familiar with and responsive to the areas in question.
Data Systems and Reporting (DSR)
DSR 1 - Summary of Recommendation Strengthen Education Department's role and investment in collecting diagnostic data and providing scientifically based research to close achievement gaps.
DSR 1 - Full Recommendation Ensure the Education Department fulfills its role as a national center for diagnostic data collection and scientifically based research that helps states address and eliminate the achievement gap. The department should enhance its role as a partner by dedicating more resources to research.
Early Childhood Education (ECE)
ECE 1 - Summary of Recommendation No recommendations identified for this issue.
English Language Learners (ELL)
ELL 1 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to determine when to use native-language or English-only tests for ELL students.
ELL 1 - Full Recommendation Provide states flexibility to determine when to administer native-language tests to English language learner (ELL) students and when to use English-only tests.
ELL 2 - Summary of Recommendation Provide states flexibility to determine when to hold schools accountable for including ELL students in AYP.
ELL 2 - Full Recommendation Provide states with flexibility to determine when to hold schools accountable for including English language learner (ELL) students in AYP calculations.
ELL 3 - Summary of Recommendation Publicize states' option of setting different “n” sizes for ELL student subgroups for AYP purposes.
ELL 3 - Full Recommendation Ensure Education Department publicizes the option for states to set a different “n” size — the minimum number of students needed to establish a subgroup in a school for reporting purposes — for English language learner (ELL) students. This option has been made available to some states with respect to students with disabilities and also should be available to the states for ELL students.
Funding Issues (FI)
FI 1 - Summary of Recommendation Clarify conditions placed on states' federal funds for increasing student proficiency and limit financial consequences for not participating in NCLB.
FI 1 - Full Recommendation Revise NCLB defects by unambiguously stating any conditions placed on funds that the federal government appropriates to the states to help students gain proficiency and, second, by eliminating any coercion to participate in NCLB and limiting the punitive financial consequences should a state decide not to participate.
FI 2 - Summary of Recommendation Conduct GAO study to determine whether NCLB is an unfunded or underfunded federal mandate.
FI 2 - Full Recommendation Request a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study evaluating whether NCLB, as currently implemented, violates Sec. 9527 by requiring states to spend their own money or change their accountability system in order to comply with the law.
FI 3 - Summary of Recommendation Conduct GAO study of state/district costs for complying with NCLB administrative processes and achieving proficiency goals.
FI 3 - Full Recommendation Request the General Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a comprehensive study on the costs to states and districts of 1) complying with the administrative processes of NCLB and 2) achieving the proficiency goals of NCLB and/or closing the achievement gap. Furthermore, any time the federal government conducts a cost estimate of NCLB, it specifically should include the compliance costs as well as the costs of reaching the proficiency goals of the law.
FI 4 - Summary of Recommendation Provide states with enough funding to cover compliance costs of NCLB, based on comprehensive study.
FI 4 - Full Recommendation Provide states, at a minimum, with enough funding to cover the compliance costs of NCLB. This level of funding should not be based on the arbitrary authorization levels established by Congress or the statutory formulas of Title I. This level of funding should be based on a comprehensive study of the actual costs of complying with NCLB.
FI 5 - Summary of Recommendation Clarify conditions and obligations for accepting federal funds to close achievement gaps, and eliminate financial penalties for not fully participating in NCLB. 

FI 5 - Full Recommendation Ensure that any conditions placed on funds that the Education Department appropriates to help close the achievement gap are stated unambiguously, so that, in deciding whether to participate in the partnership and accept the funds, states will understand their obligations. States should neither be coerced into participating in the partnership nor penalized financially should they decide not to participate fully in the partnership, and NCLB should reflect these principles.
FI 6 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to focus NCLB intervention funds on students most in need and redirect unused Title I funds for other disadvantaged student services.
FI 6 - Full Recommendation Allow states to change the way they provide intervention services so that their NCLB money is focused on the students most in need. Schools should be required to use their Title I funds to provide intervention services to failing subgroup(s) and low-income students only. If these resources are not needed for the intervention services prescribed by the law, states should be allowed to redirect those resources to other activities that serve disadvantaged students. This would require the federal government to change the requirements for state set-asides of Title I money for transportation and supplemental services.
High Schools (HS)
HS 1 - Summary of Recommendation Afford states flexibility with AYP graduation rate for students pursuing alternative paths to diploma and for including students with disabilities.
HS 1 - Full Recommendation Afford states the flexibility to include students in their AYP graduation rate who are successfully pursuing alternative paths that are similar in rigor to a high school diploma and provide more flexibility in how students with disabilities are included in graduation rates.
Other Programs (OP)
OP 1 - Summary of Recommendation No recommendations identified for this issue.
Safe Schools (SS)
SS 1 - Summary of Recommendation No recommendations identified for this issue.
School Leadership (SL)
SL 1 - Summary of Recommendation No recommendations identified for this issue.
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Recognize IDEA takes precedence over NCLB for students with disabilities. Allow states to use IEPs to determine curriculum, standards and assessments for students with disabilities.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Recognize the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as the prevailing federal law regarding students with disabilities. It should take precedence over NCLB. States should be allowed to use Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to determine an appropriate curriculum, standards and assessment system for students with disabilities.
SWD 2 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to determine percentage of students with disabilities for whom out-of-level standards and tests should be used, based on IEPs.
SWD 2 - Full Recommendation Allow states to determine the percentage of the special education population that would be best educated according to out-of-level standards and tested accordingly, based on Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Districts should be able to petition the state if they need to exceed the exemption level. Regardless of where this exemption level is set and in recognition that the special education population is not uniformly dispersed across states and school districts, these decisions should be made at the discretion of states.
SWD 3 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to set separate starting points and AYP projection paths for students with disabilities.
SWD 3 - Full Recommendation Allow states to set separate starting points and AYP projection paths for students with disabilities. This will acknowledge that “gap” kids do not meet the definition of students with severe disabilities, nor are they appropriate candidates for regular assessments and standards.
SWD 4 - Summary of Recommendation Publicize states' option of setting different “n” sizes for student subgroups for AYP and reporting purposes.
SWD 4 - Full Recommendation Ensure Education Department publicizes to states the option of setting a different “n” size—the minimum number of students needed to establish a subgroup in a school for reporting purposes. Some state plans have acknowledged the difficulty disabled students will have in meeting AYP and have increased their “n” size so fewer schools are required to meet the AYP proficiency standards for this subgroup. This will reduce the number of schools that miss AYP due solely to this subgroup.
Supplemental Education Services (SES)
SES 1 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to provide SES only in academic subjects that causes schools to miss AYP.
SES 1 - Full Recommendation Allow states to use NCLB money to provide supplemental education services only in the academic subject area that causes schools to miss AYP. This would help schools target interventions specifically to the subject areas of academic deficiency.
Teaching Quality (TQ)
TQ 1 - Summary of Recommendation Defer to state certification processes for meeting highly qualified definition for special education teachers.
TQ 1 - Full Recommendation Defer to state certification processes for meeting the highly qualified definition for special education teachers.
TQ 2 - Summary of Recommendation Allow special education teachers to earn highly qualified status without proving content knowledge for each subject, but through alternative evaluation method.
TQ 2 - Full Recommendation Allow special education teachers who teach multiple subjects to meet the NCLB highly qualified definition without having to prove content knowledge for each academic subject. This could be accomplished by developing an alternative method of evaluation to confirm that these teachers have enough content knowledge to teach various subjects to special education students. An alternative method of evaluation could include a single assessment or allowing states to establish a highly objective and uniform state standard of evaluation (HOUSSE program) specifically for special education teachers.
TQ 3 - Summary of Recommendation Allow general and special education teachers not meeting content knowledge requirements to gain highly qualified status by partnering with qualified teachers. 
TQ 3 - Full Recommendation Offer special education teachers and general education teachers who do not meet specific content knowledge requirements the option of partnering with teachers who have the subject matter content knowledge. This would allow special education teachers access to the content knowledge of academic teachers, and give academic teachers the opportunity to observe appropriate teaching techniques for students with disabilities. Both parties in this collaboration would meet the federal definition of a highly qualified teacher, which would help states adequately staff classrooms and would allow students with disabilities to benefit from teachers who have both special education expertise and content knowledge.
TQ 4 - Summary of Recommendation Allow multiple-subject teachers to meet highly qualified definition based on single means of evaluation that ensures content knowledge of each subject.
TQ 4 - Full Recommendation Allow teachers who are teaching multiple subjects to be considered highly qualified based on a single means of evaluation (which could include a test, continued education or a HOUSSE program). Any evaluation system must ensure that teachers have sufficient content knowledge to teach separate subjects, but should not require teachers to repeat the evaluation process for each subject.
TQ 5 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to determine circumstances for granting exceptions to highly qualified teacher requirements. For example, hard-to-staff schools may qualify.
TQ 5 - Full Recommendation Allow states to determine the conditions under which exceptions to highly qualified teacher requirements can be granted in unique and limited circumstances that are beyond the control of the school and/or district. Many hard-to-staff schools are having difficulty ensuring that all teachers meet the highly qualified definition. Unique circumstances prevent these schools from complying with this requirement.
Miscellaneous/Overarching (Misc.)
Misc. 1 - Summary of Recommendation Amend NCLB to revitalize state-federal partnership that ensures accountability for results and enables state/local innovation.
Misc. 1 - Full Recommendation Amend NCLB to create a revitalized state-federal partnership that ensures state accountability for results and enables state and local innovation.

Such a partnership should respect diversity without causing division and foster unity without enshrining uniformity. The federal government should honor state systems that govern education by eliminating direct federal regulatory interaction with local education agencies and individual schools and limiting its direct interaction to states.
Misc. 2 - Summary of Recommendation Clarify conditions placed on states' federal funds for increasing student proficiency and limit financial consequences for not participating in NCLB.
Misc. 2 - Full Recommendation Revise NCLB defects by unambiguously stating any conditions placed on funds that the federal government appropriates to the states to help students gain proficiency and, second, by eliminating any coercion to participate in NCLB and limiting the punitive financial consequences should a state decide not to participate.
Misc. 3 - Summary of Recommendation Direct Education Department to adopt appeals process for flexibility, exemption and waiver requests that are denied.
Misc. 3 - Full Recommendation Direct the Education Department to adopt an appeals process, such as an independent peer review to hear appeals for denied requests for flexibility, exemptions and waivers. Such a process should include state legislators and state and local education officials. The secretary should be required to make timely reports on the disposition of such requests.
Misc. 4 - Summary of Recommendation Provide urban and rural communities with incentives and flexibility to meet NCLB requirements without prescriptive definitions and sanctions.
Misc. 4 - Full Recommendation Help states overcome the unique challenges urban and rural schools face by providing incentives and flexibility to these communities and stop punishing them with prescriptive definitions and sanctions. Congress should delegate flexibility authority to allow state governance systems the authority to recognize and respond to the unique conditions of urban and rural communities.
Misc. 5 - Summary of Recommendation Conduct research on distance learning to help students/schools meet NCLB’s goals, identify barriers to distance learning and disseminate research.
Misc. 5 - Full Recommendation Prompt federal government to conduct additional research on effective distance learning that would enable students and schools to meet NCLB’s goals, identify the barriers to distance learning and disseminate that research to the states and schools.
Misc. 6 - Summary of Recommendation Expand definition of "rural" for isolated districts/schools than was previously adopted by Education Department.
Misc. 6 - Full Recommendation Ensure flexibility granted to rural districts or schools includes a broader definition of “rural” than the definition used by the Education Department in granting the February 2004 flexibility for compliance with the highly qualified teacher requirement.
Misc. 7 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states flexibility to allocate costs of educating homeless students among districts.
Misc. 7 - Full Recommendation Amend NCLB and related federal laws to permit states to allocate the costs of educating homeless students among districts within their borders. States also should have the flexibility to resolve interstate cost allocations by agreement.
Misc. 8 - Summary of Recommendation Limit time districts are responsible for costs of homeless children's education in their new district.
Misc. 8 - Full Recommendation Limit the length of time a district in which a child originally became homeless is responsible for the costs of the child’s education in a new home district.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)



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