NCLB’s 10th Anniversary No Cause For Celebration

Via NEA, to mark today being the 10th anniversary of No Child Left Behind.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was signed into law by former President George W. Bush 10 years ago this Sunday. NCLB changed the focus of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), from emphasizing equal access and closing achievement gaps in education, to focusing on high stakes testing, labeling, and sanctions.

NEA believes the 10th anniversary of NCLB is no cause for celebration and that drastic changes should be made before students and educators are forced to mark yet another anniversary living with this flawed law.

“I meet with thousands of educators as I travel around the country, and the concern I hear most often is the overwhelming burden NCLB presents in classrooms and schools,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “From high-stakes testing to narrowing of the curriculum, this law has missed the mark. Instead of creating a generation of critical thinkers, we are graduating a generation of test takers. Let’s get back to the core purpose of public education and let’s re-balance the federal role: ensuring every student has access to a great education that prepares them for lifelong learning and success in the 21st century.”

School progress cannot accurately be measured by a snapshot of test scores from one test, given on one day in the school year. These high-stakes tests are leaving behind too many students. As members of Congress prepare to consider reauthorization this year, NEA is urging them to get it right this time by listening to those affected most by the law—students, teachers and parents.

NEA’s priorities for ESEA reauthorization are:

  • Promote innovation, high expectations, and encourage development of 21st century skills in public schools.
  • End the obsession with high-stakes, poor-quality tests, by developing high-quality assessment systems that provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate what they have learned.
  • Provide great educators and school leaders for every student.
  • Promote public education as a shared responsibility of parents, students, educators, and policymakers.
  • Provide increased funding to all states and school districts to meet the growing demand for educating U.S. students to be globally-competitive.

“The time and funds spent on complying with NCLB red tape should be used to promote teacher collaboration, identifying and addressing students’ individual needs and restoring great programs that have been slashed from school offerings because of a focus on math and reading and dwindling funds,” said Van Roekel. “Our students and educators have been calling out to Congress for years now to invest in classroom priorities that build the foundation for student learning.”

ODE subject matter contact info

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has just released this contact information document by subject matter expertise. We thought it might be useful to share with our readers if you;re trying to find the right perosn for the the right topic. Feel free to download it, or just book mark this page.

ODE Contacts by Topic

The famous 5 SB5 Senators who can be targeted in 2012

There's a lot of anger, frustration, and sadness, felt by many who are affected by SB5. Firefighters, teachers, cops and tens of thousands of other public sector workers who never thought their leaders would turn their public service into something to be denigrated, disrespected and devalued. As can be seen by the sentiment in the picture, a lot of that anger and frustration is going to last well past November 2011 and the SB5 repeal campaign, and be directed at the architects and supporters of the bill in elections to come.

Consequently, we thought it would be useful to provide a high level view of what the 2012 Ohio Senate elections might be, through the prism of the SB5 vote.

The Ohio Senate Basics

The Ohio Senate is made up of 33 districts. Each represented by 1 Senator who is elected to serve a 4 year term. Senators are term limited and cannot server more than 2 full consecutive terms. Senators are elected on a rolling basis. Those that represent even numbered districts are elected in Presidential election years, and those with odd numbered districts are elected in Gubenatorial election years. So the next election for State Senators is next year, 2012, a Presidential election year. Even numbered district State Senators will be up for reelection.

The Current Ohio Senate Make Up

The current Ohio Senate is controlled by 23 Republicans making up the majority, and only 10 Democrats making up the remainder of the body. Unlike the US Senate, there is no filibuster. Bills pass on majority votes. That means only 17 of the 23 Republicans need to vote yes to pass a bill. That might be a familiar number.

Senate Bill 5: How it went down

The bill was introduced in the Senate (Hence the name - Senate Bill 5) by State Senator Shannon Jones (R), and on March 2nd, after Kremlinesque moves to stack committee's, the full Ohio Senate voted 17-16 to pass SB5. Only Republicans voted for the bill.

The Culprits

Cliff Hite District 1
Mark Wagoner District 2
Kevin Bacon District 3
Gary Cates District 4
Bill Beagle District 5
Peggy Lehner District 6
Shannon Jones District 7
Chris Widener District 10
Keith Faber District 12
Tom Niehaus District 14
David T. Daniels District 17
Kris Jordan District 19
Jimmy Stewart District 20
Larry Obhof District 22
Karen Gillmor District 26
Frank LaRose District 27
Tim Schaffer District 31

The 2012 Targets

To determine which of these Senators would be 2012 targets, we first must exclude all those representing odd numbered districts. That eliminates 8, including SB5 author Shannon Jones, leaving the following:

Mark Wagoner District 2
Gary Cates District 4
Peggy Lehner District 6
Chris Widener District 10
Keith Faber District 12
Tom Niehaus District 14
Jimmy Stewart District 20
Larry Obhof District 22
Karen Gillmor District 26

Since that SB5 vote, there has been, or will be, some changes. Sen. Cates was appointed to the Board of Regents, so he can escape voter consequences for his actions. Senate President Niehaus is term limited, so he too can escape the voters. Senator Jimmy Stewart sold out to go become a lobbyist for the Oil and gas industry, and Sen Karen Gillmor is strongly rumored to be appointed to the Ohio Industrial Commission as a reward for her SB5 vote. Sen. Mark Wagoner has indicated he will not seek reelection in 2012 too, so we mark his name with an asterisk

That leaves just the following famous five who can currently be targeted in 2012 by those upset and angered by their actions

Mark Wagoner* District 2
Peggy Lehner District 6
Chris Widener District 10
Keith Faber District 12
Larry Obhof District 22

Closing Comments

2011 is a redistricting year. That process should start in August. Ohio has some notoriously gerrymandered districts, particularly in the Senate. With certainty, Senate districts will be redrawn. Some of these famous five might find themselves with more, or less, favorable districts. Indeed, we might not even have seen the last of the flight from votes. The Governor may hand out yet more new jobs as rewards.

What is clear though, a lot of people are going to have very long memories about those that passed SB5.

SB5 Rally with Ted Strickland

A great SB5 rally last night, put together by UAPA, with former Governor Ted Strickland as the headline speaker. Also speaking were teacher Maureen Reedy, firefighter Chris Zimmer and Mark Drum from the FOP. Here's some pictures and a video of Gov. Strickland's speech

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Sen. Mark Wagoner (R) responds to JTF

State Sen. Mark Wagoner (R) wins the silver medal for being the second legislator to responsd to our recent letter. Here it is.

Thank you for your e-mail regarding House Bill 153, the state budget bill. I always appreciate hearing directly from constituents.

Creating a balanced state budget that provides value to taxpayers and improves the quality of our government’s services will be no easy task, and your input is important to me. House Bill 153 is currently undergoing hearings in the Senate Finance Committee. As you can imagine, my office receives a large volume of e-mails, letters, and phone calls regarding the budget. Although I do not have the pleasure of serving on the Finance Committee, please know that I value the information that you share with me. I will certainly keep your concerns and suggestions in mind as I continue to monitor developments in the budget closely.

Thank you again for your email. I encourage you to contact my office at (614) 466-8060 if you would like to discuss the budget or any other issue in further detail.


Mark Wagoner
Ohio Senate
2nd District

Didn't really answer our questions either does it?