Obama plan would overhaul No Child Left Behind - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Obama plan would overhaul No Child Left Behind

John Sosa John Sosa
Holly Kiyonaga Holly Kiyonaga

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - No Child Left Behind may be on its way to getting kicked out of the classroom in favor of a new blueprint for public education.

"The previous law was too punitive, too prescriptive, and led to a lowering - a dumbing down - of standards that led to a narrowing of curriculum," education secretary Arne Duncan said.

President Obama's proposal would reward schools that boost student achievement not just test scores..

"The standard keeps getting raised and eventually the standard is supposed to be 100 percent of the kids are supposed to achieve standards on the standardized math and reading tests. Everybody knows you never get 100 percent of anything," Kaiser High School principal John Sosa said.

Under the Obama plan, state's would use multiple measures to assess learning. It would allow them to focus on subjects other than math and reading to meet federal goals.

Queen Kaahumanu Elementary School principal Holly Kiyonaga calls it "holistic learning."

"Those that may excel in areas of art and music can do so and at the same time receive the benchmarks and standards in math and reading. That's what I'm trying to say to my staff here," she said.

In the 2008 and '09 school year, 36 percent of Hawaii's public schools met No Child Left Behind benchmarks but 64 percent fell short. These schools are either on probation or are being restructured by the Dept. of Education.

"It's always in the back of my mind -- I gotta make that cut," Kiyonaga said. "That adds a lot of pressure to what I do, and what I present to kids, and how I present it."

But the National Education Association, of which HSTA is a member, said the Obama overhaul may increase pressure on teachers because teachers in all subject areas are gong to have to be thinking about accountability.

There's talk of linking teacher pay raises to student performance.

NEA has 3.2 million members nationwide, so bringing teacher's unions on board is crucial to getting the new plan a passing grade.

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