ASCD, one of the largest international organizations of teaching professionals, has set their 2013 legislative agenda, and that agenda, quite simply, is legislation. The “key priority” for ASCD and its members in 2013 in terms of federal public policy priorities is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), of which the most recent version is No Child Left Behind.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, originally passed in 1965 under the Johnson Administration and re-authorized every five years, has had no reauthorization since President George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law on January 8, 2002. In lieu of a formal reauthorization, the Education Department has been authorizing temporary waivers, which guide states in their education reform efforts. Congress has yet to make a concerted effort at reauthorization, as it has been focused on broader budgetary issues.
ASCD, formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, represents 140,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers, professors, and advocates from more than 134 countries—as well as 56 affiliate organizations.
More specifically within the reauthorization of the ESEA, ASCD looks for elements of the legislation that:
- Create meaningful accountability systems
- Encourage comprehensive improvement strategies
- Promote adequate and effective preparation and ongoing professional development for educators to improve student outcomes
The broader principles which guide ASCD are broken down into four categories:
- A whole child education: The demands of today’s global society require a new approach to preparing our nation’s youth for college, careers, and citizenship. Policymakers should seek a comprehensive approach to learning recognizing that successful young people are knowledgeable, healthy, motivated, civically inspired, engaged in the arts, prepared for work and economic self-sufficiency, and ready for the world beyond their own borders.
- Multiple measures: The true measure of student proficiency, educator effectiveness, and school quality must be based on more than just students’ test scores on a few state standardized tests. Likewise, evaluations of educators’ effectiveness should be based on a combination of elements and could include students’ performance, classroom observations, and staff feedback.
- Capacity for success: All school improvement strategies-particularly interventions focused on the lowest-performing schools-must inform and engage all stakeholders; support enriched curriculum; enhance the school culture; provide high-quality teaching with ongoing professional learning to improve the quality of instruction; be commensurate with the need; and offer engaging learning opportunities that involve all students, families, and staff.
- Improving student outcomes: Evaluations of teachers and administrators must use multiple measures and lead to professional development opportunities that build the capacity of districts and schools to improve student outcomes.
For more information, including a link to the full .pdf of the 2013 agenda, please visit: