The U.S. Conference of Mayors
2007 ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS
JOBS, EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE

THE REAUTHORIZATION OF NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND

WHEREAS, In 2002 President Bush signed into law the bipartisan, landmark No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. High academic standards and accountability for all students comprise the framework for federal education reform under the law. Achieving these objectives is important to the future of our children and our cities; and

WHEREAS, Implementing and adhering to the mandates of NCLB is proving to be a challenge and NCLB is in danger of becoming another burdensome under-funded federal mandate. Schools continue to struggle with funding, mandated annual testing, student transfers, and the requirement to provide supplemental services; and

WHEREAS, Schools need flexibility in implementing the standards of NCLB. A reauthorized NCLB should include a workable longitudinal or growth model as well as multiple sources of evidence to measure individual student academic achievement and school performance. There should also be greater flexibility in assessing and measuring the academic progress of students in subgroups, especially those groups facing unique learning challenges, most specifically special education students and English language learners; and

WHEREAS, Sufficient federal resources are needed to finance NCLB programs including: full funding for Title I grants to school districts with a disproportionate number of at-risk students, the main funding source for NCLB; an increase in Title II for Teacher Quality Grants that provide funds to train recruit, and retain highly qualified teachers; the 21 Century Community Learning Centers program that funds afterschool programs for NCLB and other programs in NCLB intended to increase the academic achievement of at-risk students; and

WHEREAS, The Supplemental Education Services (SES) provision is a fundamental element of NCLB that provides disadvantaged students the extra academic help they need to meet the rigorous standards of NCLB. School districts are required to set aside 20% of their scarce federal Title I funds specifically for SES participation. Presently, only 17 percent of eligible students are participating in SES programs. School districts have been deficient in providing families the opportunities to participate in SES. A reauthorized NCLB should include provisions that would allow for all students who need extra help learning and achieving greater accessibility to Supplemental Education Services and provide a direct source of funding from the federal government for these services; and

WHEREAS, NCLB provides for highly qualified teachers in core academic areas, but should focus on increasing flexibility for meeting the "highly qualified" teacher requirements, particularly for teachers of multiple subjects such as special education, bilingual, middle school, and rural educators, and advancing teacher quality at the highest poverty schools by providing funding to attract and retain quality teachers and improved teaching and learning conditions; and

WHEREAS, NCLB should include a class size reduction program to improve student learning, with priority given to high poverty schools. Research has shown that reducing class sizes has a positive impact on maximizing student learning and closing achievement gaps, particularly in the early grades and students who need more individualized attention; and

WHEREAS, NCLB should reinforce parental involvement programs and encourage community members to interact with neighborhood schools. Programs that encourage parent and community involvement in the school are vital in strengthening families and enhancing quality of life in our cities,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The United States Conference of Mayors recognizes that to compete with their international peers, American students must graduate from high school with the academic foundation they will need to succeed in a 21st century economy. If implemented properly and funded, NCLB reforms will allow our kids to succeed and prosper; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the United States Conference of Mayors calls upon the federal education policymakers to work closely with Mayors during NCLB reauthorization to examine how NCLB is working in their communities and where improvements are needed, while maintaining a focus on accountability and standards. At the same time the federal government must live up to its commitment and provide the necessary financial resources to implement the mandates in NCLB by fully funding Title I programs to low-income school districts, Teacher Quality Grants, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers and other important programs under NCLB.

2007 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352
info@usmayors.org