As the US Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings should be a cheerleader for the No Child Left Behind Act. But in this Washington Post article, she did more than just cheer--she hit the ball out of the park.
But some bright lines must be drawn. Annual assessments are nonnegotiable, because what gets measured gets done. This is the heart of accountability. The data must also be reported by student group -- African Americans, Hispanics, those with special needs, etc. -- so that those who need the most help aren't hidden behind state or district-wide averages. Some states have asked for waivers from the law. Some have sought to exempt whole grades or student groups from annual assessments. Others have sought to keep some students' test scores under wraps. That is simply unacceptable. It undermines the very purpose of the law. Perhaps not coincidentally, some of these same states have the largest achievement gaps in the nation, with minority students lagging dozens of points -- whole years, really -- behind their white peers.
Please go read the whole thing.