Two heavy-hitters recently jumped into the NCLB reauthorization fray. Florida Governor Jeb Bush and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined forces in a Washington Post op-ed to defend NCLB from its critics and offer some suggestions for improving it. Most of what they write is bland: make standards meaningful, encourage student gains, recognize degrees of progress, and reward/retain high-quality teachers. But they raised a few eyebrows by calling for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to become the official benchmark for evaluating the rigor of state standards and the veracity of state test results. In other words, they came up to the brink of national standards and tests. (But they stepped back, out of respect for the "role of sovereign states in our federalist system.") Perhaps our forthcoming report on national testing (see here) will convince them to take a bolder plunge.
"How to Help Our Students" by Jeb Bush and Michael R. Bloomberg, Washington Post, August 13, 2006