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Sec. Paige Says Some States
"Lowering the Bar of Expectations

On October 23, 2002, U. S. Secretary Rod Paige released a letter that he sent to state school officials. In his letter, Dr. Paige expresses concerns about attempts by some states to lower expectations to evade the law:

"Unfortunately, some states have lowered the bar of expectations to hide the low performance of their schools. And a few others are discussing how they can ratchet down their standards in order to remove schools from their list of low performers. Sadly, a small number of person have suggested reducing standards for proficiency in order to artificially present the facts . . . "

". . . it is nothing less than shameful that some defenders of the status quo are trying to hide the performance of underachieving schools in order to shield parents from reality . . . "

"Those who play semantic games or try to tinker with numbers to lock out parents and the public stand in the way of progress and reform. They are the enemies of equal justice and equal opportunity. They are apologists for failure."

"And they will not succeed."

"Once parents discover that children in their local schools are not learning as well as they could, they will demand results - no matter how much one state tries to buck accountability."

"As a former superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, I understand the promise and the peril of improving schools. It takes courage to confront the forces of bureaucracy, regulation, and special interests . . . "

"The good news is that we know what works: scientifically proven methods, aligned standards, assessments, and instruction, school and district leadership focused on student learning, accountability for results, and highly qualified teachers will improve achievement and bring success."

"Nothing is more important than a teacher who has mastered his or her subject - that's why the law supports finding and recruiting teachers who have the content knowledge and life experiences to teach confidently and effectively."

"Although some critics continue to attack aspects of the law and some naysayers have convinced themselves that some children are too poor or too different looking to learn, we know they are wrong."

Read the full text of Secretary Paige's letter to state school chiefs at the No Child Left Behind website:

The No Child Left Behind Act has great potential to improve educational results for all children, including children with disabilities. We urge parents to act as watchdogs to ensure that your state does not lower the bar.

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Learn More About The No Child Left Behind Act

For articles, resources. and free pubs, go to the No Child Left Behind Page.

A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind. Learn about new requirements for teachers and paraprofessionals, school and school district report cards, annual testing in math and reading. You will also learn about new options for parents including transfers from failing schools and free supplemental services - tutoring, after-school programs and summer school. Printer-friendly version of A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind to distribute.

Schools Must Measure Progress & Report Results to Parents. Schools must measure each child's progress every year and must report these results to the child's parents and to the public. Yes, this requirement applies to children in special education.

What Does No Child Left Behind Mean to Families, Teachers, Community Leaders? Information for parents, teachers, school board members and community leaders about NCLB, links to informational brochures from U. S. Department of Education.

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