Closing The Deal, Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights

If you share our concern about whether the forthcoming E.S.E.A. amendments can successfully be implemented, this report tells a cautionary tale. Published by a (left-leaning) private outfit called the Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, it is subtitled "a preliminary report on state compliance with final assessment & accountability requirements under the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994." In other words, it reports on implementation of the previous round of E.S.E.A. amendments, enacted just before the 1994 election. And it's hardly encouraging. At the end of the 2000-01 school year, i.e. six and a half years after President Clinton signed this legislation, a period during which all states were required to install academic standards, aligned assessments and accountability systems based on those assessments, here is what the Citizens' Commission found: Just 11 states have in place assessment systems that meet all Title I requirements. Twenty states were granted "partial approval" by the federal Education Department and told to correct deficiencies in their systems. Three states had plans so "out of line with Title I requirements that they will need to enter into compliance agreements" with Uncle Sam. And eighteen more states had assessment systems that the Education Department hasn't yet managed to finish reviewing. That's the same Department, of course, that will be charged with implementation of the 2001 amendments. This report is full of other alarming details that you may want to see for yourself. You can contact the Citizens' Commission at 2000 M Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20036. The phone is (202) 659-5565; the fax is (202) 223-5302. E-mail citizens@cccr.org or surf to http://www.cccr.org. While you're at it, you can also obtain the Commission's analysis of the Bush education plan. (A mixed review, but that plan has been so altered by Congress that this one may not be worth your time.)

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