Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson is taking a lead in drafting a Republican alternative to the Obama administration’s plan to amend the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act –- better known as No Child Left Behind. Isakson is co-sponsoring three new bills intended to replace the legislation.
One of the biggest changes Isakson is proposing eliminates the requirement that schools meet the federal testing benchmark called Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP.
Federal intervention would still be required in the lowest-performing schools, but states could set their own goals for student progress. Isakson argues that students would still be tested every year, so schools would still have to be accountable for boosting achievement.
"The ultimate enforcement mechanism is transparency," Isakson says. "This requires the publication of the school report card, which is the disaggregated test score results for the students in each and every school in each and every system; so that parents and educators can know first hand what the data is and whether the schools are improving or not."
This year, more than a third of Georgia’s schools did not meet AYP standards, which have risen too fast for many schools. Isakson said he and state school superintendent John Barge will meet with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan next week to request for a waiver from AYP requirements for this year.
Read the full transcript of our interview with Isakson at the Southern Education Desk here.